NEW YORK CITY: New Year’s Eve
IF THERE IS ONE THING FOR CERTAIN, it is that life is uncertain.
Making New Year’s resolutions, exchanging mistakes of the past for promises in the future, is what every 2017 hopeful wishes for: a new beginning, a fresh start, and perfect plans sure to succeed.
Yet, what if all our premeditated plans take an upside turn, and nothing anticipated is what we end up with? What do we do with the detours of life that take us off in a different direction?
“But better yet, what if Plans B’s are better than the original Plan A’s?
What if life detours were really Divine interventions? - taking us to places we were always meant to be.
When Everything Goes Wrong
Flying into New York City on December 31, 2016 to see the ball drop at Times Square seemed like a grandiose idea, and staying at the Plaza Hotel on Central Park, was the cherry on top. What a way to celebrate the New Year. It was the perfect plan: spend Christmas skiing in Mammoth with my daughter, fly home December 30; pack, fly out December 31 arriving with enough time to raise a toast to 2017. Brilliant. Perfect. I definitely deserved the status of Jet set, and was secretly proud of squeezing every drop of life out of a 24 hour period.
Yet, pulling into Mammoth airport and seeing the security lines empty, I already knew the obvious; FLIGHT CANCELED. Now what? I was due to fly out in 10 hours to New York City from Orange county airport. I had to get home…that night.
“When’s the next flight out?’ I panically asked.
“All flights are booked because of the holidays. There won’t be another flight out until January 2, 2017”
I froze. This couldn’t be. This is not my plan. I did not prepare for this. What do I do now?
Others were scrambling to catch a private charter, but I knew, just like scrambling for a lifeboat on the Titantic, there was not enough room for all of us. Few would make it, most would be stranded. Rather than join in the desperate pleas of nonacceptance, I rallied for another plan.
“Okay,” I resolved. Plan B. Luckily, a friend drove up to visit, which opened doors up to another possibility. If we drove 6 hours nonstop, it was possible to make the morning flight to New York City.
We arrived home at 2 a.m., packed our bags and took off to catch the 4 a.m flight. We made it.
"Stop knocking on closed doors of original plans. Turn around. There are other doors wide open inviting you to walk through."
When All Plans Fail
It was 3 p.m. before we taxied into the heart of Manhattan,Times square. Yet, it had already become a fortress of blocked off streets and police barricades, just like the Berlin wall, erected in a day. You were either in or out, and if you left, there was no coming back. With two million spectators vying to see the ball drop, the challenge to find standing room escalated as time went on. Soon, it became a hard fact: there was absolutely no getting through the crowd. We were just a few hours too late, and no amount of pushing, pleading, or begging would have gained any ground. We were the outsiders, and couldn’t get in. The ball dropped on my New Year’s Eve plan before the clock struck midnight. All this way, to no avail.
I conceded to being one of the wanna be’s who missed out on the party. Things didn’t go as planned. We were at the right place…at the wrong time.
And then a new thought….maybe there’s another way in?
Passing the Police Barricade
Standing with the other wanna be’s behind the line, we met two Indian brothers that flew to America, then drove from Canada totaling 43 hours of travel time just to see the ball drop, to no avail. Suddenly, compassion turned to courage for these two misfortunate adventurous kids.
“We’re going to see the ball drop!” I promised. Follow me.
As the police focused on intruders barging their way in, we nonchalantly passed through with the aire of confidence walking straight to the hotel lobby, as if we were thankful for their protection. Then we ran; through private parties, down stairwells, and out into the street, as if we were on a bank heist. Albeit, though we were closer, we were still too far away.
It was only a matter of time, before we were recognized as imposters, posing as registered hotel guests having tickets to the exclusive “ball drop” parties. We made a run for it, to the subway station, until at last we reached 44th street. Emerging from underground, there in the distance only two blocks away was the prize….The glorious “ball’ resting on top of the clock at Times Square.
An electrical charge filled the air. Undeniably, you could feel the energy. The street was saturated with television stations and camera crews capturing the moment. Asia T.V. was broadcasting remotely. “Excuse me,” I pulled at the spokeswoman, “These two brothers came all the way from India just to see the ball drop. Interview them!”
Excitedly she grabbed her mic, pulled them from the crowd, and starting televising live as they conversed in their own native language. To see their faces light up -their journey was worth it, made it worth it for me. It was hours before midnight. I could have stayed to watch the ball drop, but ironically, I didn’t need to.
I grabbed my daughter’s hand, “Honey, want to go back and finish watching it from our room?”
She smiled and nodded. We crossed back over the barricade joining the other wanna be’s. I already got what I wanted….a better experience than what I came for.
"Ain’t about how fast I get there. Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb." -Miley Cyrus
It was January 3, 2017-time to leave. If only I had one more day. If only I could see just a little more, if only I could have seen one more broadway play, were all my bittersweet thoughts racing through my head as we taxied past the exquisite skyscrapers to the Lincoln Tunnel.
Traffic was unusually heavy, and once arriving the security lines were even worse. Tension grew as the clock ticked, knowing that I had to pass security before they closed the gates. The kiosk was not issuing my boarding pass, so I went directly to the counter.
“Can you help me. I need a boarding pass.” I urgently requested.
“Oh I’m sorry, the gate is closed. You’ll have to leave tomorrow morning.”
“I can’t. I don’t have a room. I have to get back. I have to get on that plane!” I pleaded panic stricken.
“I am sorry. Here are your boarding passes for tomorrow.” she said as an ironclad NO.
Stranded at the airport with my daughter, I felt horrible. I should have left earlier. I should not have made this mistake. I need to get back today, she has school tomorrow…on and on I continued regretting until finally arriving with the last question: Now what?
This was not going my way. I was angry at….I didn’t really know who….and felt like a victim of…..I didn’t really know what….I just knew I wanted to be mad. Until suddenly….
“Allie,” I turned to my daughter,”What time is it?”
“ 5:45 p.m.??” she answered.
“Want to see a broadway play?”
Hailing a cab, I challenged him to get me to the Marquis Theatre, by 7:00 p.m.
My daughter poked me, “Well mom, you did say you wanted to stay one more day!”
That was funny. How ironic. How Divine?
Running to the box office at 6:50 p.m. I assumed there really wouldn’t be any seats left.
But my life motto is: everything’s worth a try.
Shockingly there were two tickets available, cancellations in the orchestra section up front. $180 tickets for $99.
We ate at Carmeletto’s on Broadway; played cards between entrees; and ran out in the rain on the streets of New York City one last time, coincidently, right below the ball that was impossible to reach just days ago. Funny, what was so important yesterday, is so unimportant today.
I was finally ready to go home. Reminiscing about the last few days of a whirlwind adventure, I cozied in with my book for the flight home waiting for the que on the runway…and waited…and waited some more…until over the loud speaker came the pilot’s voice…I apologize, because of mechanical difficulties we are unboarding the plane. We will keep you updated on the progress.
Instantly irritated I wondered. How is it possible to miss flights for the third time in a row? How is it that the same thing keeps happening? Is there some message here?
Three hours later we boarded another plane, yet our seats were scrambled assigning us seats next to strangers…or were they? My daughter met a homeopathic expert that shared insight very pertinent to her unique situation. I met a marketing guru which helped me immensely.
How is it that the plane change allowed us to sit next to people that shared with us just what we needed? Was this another divine intervention?
Is it possible that life interruptions are not interruptions at all, but rather divine detours that keep us on destiny’s path?
When our Plan A’s fail, is it possible that Plan B’s are better?
If we stop fretting and worrying about closed doors, are there doors that are open waiting for us to walk through?
2017 New Year’s resolution: the Chinese proverb – Flow like water
Flow like water..go around the obstacles of life rather than fight against them, keep flowing; keep moving; let life happen.
Embrace change as an unexpected blessing.
Step out of your comfort zone, it’s where everything good happens.
God is in everything, even if you don’t see it.
Life is uncertain: so buckle up, hang on, and decide to enjoy the ride!
Happy makes things happen…..Make a Happy New Year!
Lisa Hamilton/ The Hamilton Post