New York City – My New Comfort Zone

I have one major regret in my life. In my early 20s, I was offered a job at Bloomingdales in Manhattan in the Merchandising Department as a Planner. They had two positions for me to choose from in Housewares & Junior clothing. I agonized about the choice. I turned it down because the salary was really low and I couldn’t figure out how I could live on it. I didn’t know anyone up there. My family was freaking out & actually talked me out of it. I wish I would have taken the job. I wish I had the courage & support at that age to follow my own path. Since then,I go up to New York pretty regularly and I’m very familiar with the city. But, as much as I love living at the beach, I โค๏ธ NY. I regret I was too afraid to leave my comfort zone.

We all have a comfort zone. We all have a place where we feel safe, secure and comfortable. But, remaining in the comfort zone for too long shrinks our world, limits growth and keeps us small. Are you willing to walk the edges of your comfort zone and maybe even step outside to gain some freedom? Are you willing to let go of every security blanket you own and fall down the Rabbit Hole to live and grow through discomfort and fear?

I traveled alone up to New York City from Friday to Saturday for my birthday to face my new anxiety and fear of traveling alone out of my comfort zone. It had to be done. I was giving up a piece of my freedom by letting myself accept fear and anxiety.

I felt some anxiety building while I was in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve been to The Met before. But, this time it was crazy crowded because the weather was bad. I couldn’t see the exits, people were banging into me and it was hot. I decided to leave instead of taking Xanax. I walked out the door and tried to get on a bus heading downtown. But, I didn’t have coin or a Metro card. The French guy behind me offered to pay for me with his Metro Card. Wasn’t that sweet? The Fair was $2.50. I gave him $3.00. He handed it back to me๐Ÿ˜„ We settled on $2.00. The kindness of a stranger in a foreign place calmed me down.

The weather was nasty on Friday. It was a drag. I kept thinking maybe I should just go home because being outside was not fun. Instead I took a time out in a Starbucks in the East Village and came up with a new plan. Early dinner and a movie in Midtown near the Hotel & Times Square. That’s when I noticed my phone was about to die๐Ÿ™€ I had a charger with me but no where to charge it๐Ÿ™€ I decided to face the fear of being phoneless๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„ and just go with the flow.

I took the bus uptown and found a family owned Sushi place near the hotel that was amazing. Kodama Sushi on 45th & 8th Ave is awesome. If you go, get the Natural Black Rice Spicy Tuna Roll – AMAZING๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜„

I decided to see a 6:45pm movie instead of waiting until 8pm for a show. I was already tired and didn’t feel like napping & changing clothes. I decided on “Cinderella”. Well, here’s where I was really tested. I was in the AMC 25 in Times Square. As I kept going up floors and escalators, anxiety was building. Now remember, my phone was dying. But the time I got SIX floors up with no line of sight for the front door, my phone was dead and I was starting to panic. I decided to take Xanax instead of leaving BUT… I found out I didn’t have any XANAX in my bag๐Ÿ™€ OMFG! ๐Ÿ˜„ When I switched handbags at the hotel, I left my pill box in my big handbag in the room. So here I was SIX floors up, no line of sight on the front door, no phone and no Xanax. I took a Pepcid to stop my belly from tossing & turning(Anxiety stirs everything up.) I started to do my 4 count breathes and started weighing my options.

Well, it was then three 60 year old or so Asian women sat next to me. I was annoyed at first. Lots of open seats, why sit next to me? And then, the Disney short film “Elsa Celebrates Anna’s Birthday” came on before the movie. It was like they were singing happy birthday directly to me๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸฐAnd, the three little 60 year old Asian women were so adorable because they were giggling and laughing like they were 10 year olds. It cracked me up so much I completely forgot I was anxious๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„ I LOVED the movie. And I loved the message in the movie, “Have COURAGE and be KIND” a perfect message for me at that time.

I woke up Saturday very rested. The sun was starting to breakthrough the clouds. I walked a couple miles down to Freidman’s Lunch on 31st & 7th Ave. Gigantic Menu with lots of GF options๐Ÿ‘ I took the Subway back down to the East Village to go to Jennifer’s Way Organic Bakery at 10th & 1st Ave. It’s owned by Actress Jennifer Esposito(she used to be on “Bluebloods”). Jennifer has Celiac Disease. I wanted to buy some treats to take home with me. I then walked over 14th street towards Chelsea when I felt a shift in my Energy. I decided to sit for a moment and tune into my intuition. I felt my spirit & intuition say, “I’m done. We’ve done what we came here to do. Let’s go home”. I took the Subway back uptown and started my trip home.

I am going back up June 21st for Yoga in Times Square๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„ I would like to take the double decker tour bus Uptown and see Harlem, Hell’s Kitchen, Upper East & West. Maybe even a carriage ride in the park this summer๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ‘

So there you have it. I was out of my comfort zone without a phone and Xanax. Guess what, I lived. I had fun. I’ll do it again.

If you go to NYC, here are some tips:

One note about transportation, I usually drive into the city or at least up to Red Bank & get the train. I took the a Greyhound Bus this time from Resorts Casino in Atlantic Ciry, NJ to 42nd & 8th Avenue. It was $42.00 round trip. The trip up was great๐Ÿ‘ The trip back was ok. The 12:30 bus had a problem and had to go back to NYC from Hoboken. We changed buses. I paid forward the kindness the French guy showed me the day prior by giving up my awesome double seat to a blind guy with a service dog. They both seemed happy & comfortable ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿถ

I stayed at the Comfort Inn in Times Square. It was nothing glamourous. BUT, the Standard room with King Sized Bed was beautifully decorated, the bed & pillows were comfy and it was exceptionally clean. It was $140 including taxes & tip. That’s a steal for Midtown Manhattan on a Friday night. I booked through Expedia two days before my trip. They let me check in at 10:30am๐Ÿ‘It was perfect. It’s centrally located. I would recommend it for someone who is a thrifty minimalist like me. Someone who needs luxury probably should pay more to stay somewhere else.

I loved the Guggenheim. If you go, get the Free Multi-media headset to fully appreciate the architecture.

I took some Gluten Free snacks in my bag as I walked around. I didn’t want to stop to eat. But I did enjoy walking around with my Starbucks โค๏ธโ˜•๏ธ

Places I ate were:
Kodama Sushi – 45th & 8th Ave (Times Square area) – $32 including tax & 25% tip. I got two rolls, Seaweed salad, extra Ginger & a Diet Coke. Get the Natural Black Rice Spicy Tuna Roll

Freidmans Lunch – 31st & 7th Ave (Midtown) – $31 including tax & 25% tip. I got Gluten Free Apple Pancakes & Chicken Sausage

Jennifer’s Way Bakery 10th & 1st Ave(East Village)
I got GF Bread, rolls & Whoopie Pie๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ‘

Lastly, the owner of a local bakery let me know she saved me something special for my birthday & she would be in the store until 6pm. So, I drove over when I got home. A Gluten Free Double Chocolate Mousse Cake was waiting for me๐ŸŽ‚๐Ÿฐ

Now for some music…I โค๏ธ the song “Empire State Of Mind” from Alicia Keys. Watch the video below.

(C) 2015 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
Protected by Copyscape Original Content Check

Photo Credit
Google Image search for “New York Art”

Taking On Anxiety


 I’m writing this post on a Greyhound Bus Traveling from Atlantic City, NJ to Midtown Manhattan. I’m going to NYC to take anxiety head on. 

Anxiety. You don’t know how crippling anxiety can be until you have it. My cousin got Panic attacks when were young. I used to help her through them. But I never understood how humbling they could be until I had one. 

A few years ago I started having some health problems. Anxiety rode along with those issues. Over time my body healed. Physically I’m pretty much the healthiest I’ve ever been. I feel good. My body is strong and emotionally I’m very stable and balanced. But, unfortunately, anxiety has remained. 

I don’t have anxiety every day. Actually most days I don’t have it. But, new social situations, large groups of unfamiliar people, speaking in front of large groups, traveling out of my comfort zone of South Jersey & Philadelphia often triggers an attack. 

I’ve been working with a Psychologist to gain coping mechanisms and to control my anxiety with rational thought. One thing I’m working on is to turn off the rambling thoughts of the “what if” thinker. What if my Arrhythmia acts up while I’m out of town and I can’t get to a hospital? What if I eat something that makes me sick? What if I have an allergic reaction? What if I can’t get home? What if…What if…What if…My what if thinker is very active and very irrational. I’m learning to acknowledge the irrational thought and tell myself the worse won’t happen and I’ll be ok. 

In recent months I’ve taken strides to address the social anxieties. I’ve been forcing myself to participate in group events. I even went to a baby shower at work the other day to force myself to interact more. I’m naturally inclined to be quiet and an introvert. I can’t guarantee I’ll ever be super talkative, chatty Kathy or Miss Congeniality. But, at least, social anxiety will not hold me back. 

I’m an independent, self-sufficient kind of girl. I’ve learned to not need anyone and to only rely on myself. I’ve always taken off on my own for road trips, solo yoga retreats and weekends in NYC. I enjoy doing it. If I could find a job similar to the one I have in NYC, I would even consider living in the Village. I love it.  But in recent years, anxiety robbed me of my ability to travel independently. I won’t stand for this any longer. I won’t lose that part of myself. I refuse to give in. I came up with a plan to reclaim my life and travel independence. 

Saturday, March 21st is my 48th Birthday. I am taking my anxiety head on by going to NYC alone  Friday to Saturday. I’m going to enjoy some art, catch a yoga class or two and enjoy the city I’m so familiar with and love.  People offered to go with me. But I need to do this alone.  I almost chickened out. NYC is expecting 3-5 inches of snow today. I’m going away. I’m wearing UGGs,I packed warm clothes(scarf & hat) & I packed my Xanax. I’m all set ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ‘ On a side note,  The dude sitting behind me is snoring and will quite possibly suck me into his hostile with his next breath ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„ 

Amelia Earhart said, “Fears are paper tigers.”  In other words, we make things worse and bigger than they actually are. I’ve learned through my life that most fear is irrational. Today I’m breaking through one of my paper tigers๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜„  

Follow the Twitter Feed on the right sidebar of my Blog for updates throughout the trip. I’ll post a blog when I get home with a recap of my trip.   


(C) 2015 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
Protected by Copyscape Original Content Check

Photo Credit
Google Image search for “anxiety images”