“So go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground.” –Oprah Winfrey
Thursday, April 15th was the first nice day outside that really felt like spring; the rain was drying up, the temperatures started rising, and the cloud parted ways for the sun to make its seasonal debut. As someone much accustomed to the winter months, I finally felt its’ departure and the coming of spring on this beautiful day. Low and behold, I was stuck inside of the office I work in during the week, and could only witness this beautiful weather from my limited window view.
Luckily, I had plans to meet up with two friends, Molly and Paul, for a late dinner and would then be able to enjoy this no-leggings kind of day. Following the continuous theme of every other day, I rushed. I hurried through the piles of articles I needed to fact-check, ran over to Fat Sal’s Pizza to beat the lunch hour lines, and sped through the rest of my tasks until the workday was officially over.
The work was done, but the rushing didn’t stop there; now I had to transport myself from 475 10th Avenue to meet up with Molly and Paul. I sprinted from 37th street to 42nd and all the way through Time Square; I caught the Shuttle, which took me to Grand Central Station, and hopped on the 5 train express which delivered me to my final destination, Union Square. I knew I had a long night ahead of me, and a long day behind me. Bodily exhaustion doesn’t even begin to describe my physical discomfort from staring at a computer screen and running around New York all day, in heels no less. I was tired from my internship, tired from avoiding creepy loud mouths on the subway, and tired of always rushing.
My life often feels like a constant rush, leaving memories of more common days blurred together. The surrounding culture I’ve been brought up in has taught me to live this way: impatiently grab a cup of coffee before the rest of the morning commuters, rush to the train station, speed past people who mosey down sidewalks and take their sweet time crossing the street. I’m always in a rush, but on this budding spring evening, I asked myself where I was rushing to?
I was well aware that my friends weren’t going to meet me for another 15 minutes, and there weren’t any pressing issues I needed to take care of. The next few minutes were mine and mine only, and I refused to rush around like a crazy person when time was on my side for once.
While walking around Union Square park and observing the hoards of people around me, I wasn’t paying attention to my footsteps and tripped. My clumsy and awkward tendencies always leave me dealing with the aftermath of an embarrassing fall or attention grabbing misstep. I fell onto the side of an empty park bench, but I didn’t immediately rush to help myself up. I adjusted my position and stayed there, laying down on my back, with my face to the sky. I couldn’t help but think of a famous Oprah Winfrey quote, “So go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground.”
I’m sure this groundbreaking, television icon meant her words in a metaphorical sense: if you take a risk and end up failing, you can still gain a different perspective and be able to see things differently. This is all well and good, but interpreting this advice literally by falling down and staying there held more significance to what I was currently going through.
I was able to sniff out the few pleasant smells that New York City has to offer, I witnessed the sounds of street bands creating music, and I looked at the skyline from a different angle than I was used to. Something as simple as looking at the dark grey sky and surrounding lights of downtown Manhattan on this warm, April evening appeared to be a whole other world from the ground. Everything was indeed different with my head tilted upward, challenging my prior knowledge and experiences regarding my surrounding aesthetics. The world doesn’t have to be such a chaotic and busy place if we let ourselves fall down once in a while and actually enjoy it.
Of course, as soon as I glanced at my watch and saw that it was a few minutes past seven, I quickly rose from my horizontal position on a Union Square park bench and started my search for Molly and Paul. Upon finding each other in the crowd, we rushed toward each other and proceeded to rush in the direction of a yummy Mexican restaurant with outrageous prices. Even when scurrying around with my other fast-paced pals, I had a different sense of understanding when it came to the beautiful sights of spring. Those few moments when I didn’t feel compelled to rush around allowed me to gain an important insight into Oprah’s thought process: the world definitely looks different when you’re viewing it from the ground, and it wasn’t as bad as my clumsy self would’ve anticipated.