by Lisa Hopkins
I’m not sure if I noticed it right away or even how long it had been there. Its once shiny gold background and proud bold, black lettering peeled slightly away from the wood grain door, just above the peephole. I tried to imagine who put it there, and whether or not they recognized the irony of our new address (1F) which more clearly read “IF”.
We’d been “empty nesters” since we left our baby in southern California in September. But we weren’t empty nesters at all because, as she spread her wings and embarked on a new chapter of her life, we too—like excited college students—started yet another adventure together in New York City. We hadn’t lived in the City since we were newlyweds with a ten-month lease on a tiny one-bedroom apartment on West 85th Street. Twenty-five years later, we were back on the Upper West Side at 102 West 76th Street, and, other than a Starbucks on every corner, not much had changed, including the fact that we still had to climb a ladder to go to bed in our loft.
“If.” The seemingly harmless little two-letter word is quite possibly one of the most powerful in our vocabulary. I have seen it boosting the unwavering passion and determination of the young college students I teach downtown every day (“if I just work harder I will reach my goals”) and, more often, strenuously holding back so many of the adults I encounter (“if only I . . . ”).
I have always tended toward the first usage of the word. Ever the eternal optimist, I smiled when I recognized the moniker on my door. I read it as a kind of affirmation of the endless amount of possibilities open to us if we open our minds and hearts and, indeed our eyes, to see them. Regret can’t exist in the moment, only the chance to be. I am grateful for moments in my life and for the opportunity to reflect on them here.
In November, we three migrated back to Burlington, where our feathered nest patiently waited for us to return, if only for a week. We filled our home with music and food and friends and refueled ourselves for the month ahead before we would return to the nest again for the holidays. In the New Year, we would be taking a new sublet in NYC, and I wondered what moments our new address would hold.
Funny, after eight years living there, it only just now occurred to me that our permanent street address name in Burlington is:
Artwork by: “Empty Nesters” Ron Eady (Canada)
Lisa is a certified coach and CORE Performance Dynamics Specialist helping clients balance their creative and professional lives by learning how to access their highest potential, consistently. A passionate creative professional herself, Lisa has extensive experience in the performing arts as a director, choreographer, producer, writer and dance teacher. She is adjunct faculty at Pace University teaching tap and jazz dance in the Commercial Dance and Musical Theater BFA programs and co-founder of New York Stage Originals, a theatrical production company. Lisa is a mother, a daughter a sister and a wife and splits her time between NYC and Burlington, VT.