Get Down, Get Groovy

I woke up at about 7:30 this morning with Simon & Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” in my head. The sun was shining brightly into my bedroom, the birds were singing, and with such music playing in my mind I just couldn’t stay in bed one minute more. There’s so much to do and see, so much life to live, how can I possibly sleep through it?! As I brushed my teeth, made breakfast, drank my coffee, the lyrics of that iconic song played across my brain over and over, and I realized it’s the perfect anthem, the perfect soundtrack to life as I know it.

The dictionary says the word “groove” derives from a Middle English word meaning “a mining shaft, a pit, a ditch.” Over the centuries the word evolved and came to mean “a pattern, a rut” as well as “a long narrow cut or indentation in a surface.” Hence after the invention of recorded sound and phonograph records, the tracks for the needle became known as “record grooves.” When musicians are playing well together and really feeling it, it’s said they’re “in the groove.” In the 60’s, saying something or a situation was “groovy” meant that it was pretty awesome, highly enjoyable. And still today, if you find yourself in a good groove, it means you’re just kinda surfing the wave of life, enjoying the ride.

So I’d like to make a case for the re-integration of the word “groovy” into modern day English slang. Think about it: when was the last time you heard someone say “groovy” with a straight face and actually mean it? And yet it carries so much meaning with it; so much more than a word like “cool” or “sweet.” Isn’t it way more fun to go through your day feeling groovy? It’s carefree and silly, it’s relaxed and hopeful, it’s smooth sailing baby.

I’m feeling groovy these days. It’s one of those times in life when everything seems to be moving right along exactly as it should be. Nothing ahead but a bright, big horizon. It’s best to stay in the groove at times like this. Stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, stop expecting something to go wrong. In my experience, when you expect a storm, it almost always finds you.

“Slow down, you move too fast, You got to make the morning last, Just kickin’ down the cobblestones, Lookin’ for fun and feelin’ groovy.”

Mmmm, just makes you wanna get out into the sunshine, doesn’t it?

When you’re feeling groovy, you’re in the moment. There’s nothing else you want or need because it’s already complete. It’s already perfect. “Hello lamp post, what cha knowin’? I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’.” If you’ve ever taken a stroll just for the hell of it, you know exactly what he’s talking about.

So go groove like no one’s watching. There’s nothing stopping you. And if your path crosses with mine, then hopefully we’ll stop for a moment and groove together.

“Life, I love you, All is groovy.”

Down the Rabbit-Hole

I feel a bit like Alice sometimes, and New York City might as well be Wonderland. There are quite a few Mad Hatters (just take a stroll through Penn Station after midnight); a good many rabbits always rushing to get to a very important date (especially down on Wall Street); the occasional Queen of Hearts, power-hungry and self-important but with deep-seated insecurities and always quick to shout, “Off with their heads!” at the first sign of trouble; a bevy of Cheshire Cats, hypnotic with their shining, dentist-whitened grins; dozens of Mad Tea Parties on any given night of the week (particularly in the Meatpacking District); and now and then a wise, hookah-smoking caterpillar, ready and willing to dispense sage advice (only $10 for a palm reading, $20 for tarot).

I jumped down the rabbit-hole of my own accord, chasing after that furry white creature wearing a waistcoat and carrying a watch. However I, unlike Alice, had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into. Even so, when I emerged from the long tunnel after drinking from the vial marked “DRINK ME” and finishing every last bite of the cake marked “EAT ME”, I was taken aback by the new world that surrounded me. To be clear, this is what usually happens when you enter a new life and embark upon a new adventure; it’s every bit what you expected, and at the same time, every bit what you hadn’t expected.

I’ve been creating a life in this fantastic, terrifying, beautiful, ugly, amazing, gluttonous, perfect, downright foolhardy city for almost two years. I have to admit I haven’t loved every minute of it (it can be hard to find your footing here sometimes), but it is the 100% honest-to-God truth that there is nowhere else I would rather be. My life here has taken so many twists and turns (and not always good ones) that I can no longer even see the point where I started. But it’s a blessing to be in a place where I can dream, be inspired, cross paths with the most incredible people, face fears head-on daily, fall down, get up, get lost, and keep going. And if I happen to wander onto a dead-end street, or while walking down Seventh Avenue realize I’m going the wrong way and have to coolly change direction and pretend I did it on purpose, well, that’s okay too.

It’s amazing what you open yourself up to when you follow your heart and boldly go in the direction of your dreams, your most lofty ambitions and desires. I’m learning that there is really nothing too difficult, nothing too impossible, nothing that can’t be done. (“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’ ‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’ “) There are quite a few things in my life now that, two years ago, I would have believed to be impossible. There are so many exciting happenings in the world of Jessy Tomsko that I can’t wait to share in the coming weeks and months, believe you me (!), but for now to avoid speaking too soon, suffice it to say that “impossible” things don’t seem so impossible anymore. Patience, however, is key, and it’s a virtue I’m constantly nurturing and hope to one day actually possess. Happiness NOW is the most important thing, no matter what your life looks like, because without choosing to be happy now, we’ll never get anywhere and we’ll never be as joyful as our spirits intend to be.

So here I am, walking in Wonderland the best way I know how. If I shrink to only ten inches high, or grow taller than Robert Wadlow (just Google him), I’m still going to keep on walking this path. (” ‘-so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ added Alice as an explanation. ‘Oh you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat. ‘If you only walk long enough.’ “) We’re all walking some sort of path, but are we enjoying our journey? Are we noticing the greenery, the talking Dormouse, the painted red roses in the Queen’s croquet-ground? It’s more likely that we are too busy planning out where we’re headed next, what we’re doing later, choosing which reality we think is the best one for us, thinking we know exactly who we are and who we will be.

Am I the same person I was last year? Yesterday? An hour ago? “I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then.”

The rabbit-hole does indeed seem to go on forever.

Curiouser and curiouser.