Finding meaning

The other day I received a comment on a previous blog post from someone who clearly objected to my lifestyle and the way I present it here. Phrases such as “vacuous dross”, and “privileged and meaningless existence” were deployed, and although I didn’t appreciate the tone I have to admit I don’t entirely disagree with their point. I am well aware that this blog is all happy-shiny tales from my extraordinarily-privileged life (a life for which I am perpetually grateful, by the way), and I know that that even the bad days I don’t write about are really not all that bad in the overall scheme of things. And whilst I am perfectly capable of sophisticated textual analysis I choose not to do that here, although perhaps I should…

Pique aside, it’s always valuable to have one’s bubble popped from time to time, and the more I think about it the more I’m grateful for this comment – particularly as I was vaguely thinking about making one of my current volunteer activities more meaningful,  and this has prompted me to sign up for an orientation to explore some options. I’m not sure whether this was the desired response, but there we go.

Anyway, in other news, this first third of 2018 has been even more fully-booked than usual, which for us is saying a lot. Work is keeping Tom particularly busy, while I’ve recently added a German language class to my routine. In addition to these, our other regular commitments, and our various travels we’ve had all kinds of pleasant opportunities around the city, and have been happily taking advantage of everything we can cram into the calendar. (All of which meant that as soon as I had a free weekend after Easter I promptly came down with a bad cold, which was probably to be expected.)

Concerts
I have been truly spoilt for concerts lately, starting in early February when I took a friend’s ticket to see Leif Ove Andsnes playing Britten’s piano concerto with the New York Philharmonic. I’m not always such a fan of piano music, and was initially more interested in the Vaughan Williams and Saint-Saëns pieces on the program, but it really was superb. Next up was the Louisiana Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, with some fantastic Revueltas and Philip Glass – one of the pieces required fourteen percussionists, and the whole evening was the most fun I think I’ve ever had at a concert, it was just joyous from start to end. Back at Carnegie Hall a few weeks later, we heard Iestyn Davies performing Handel’s Rinaldo with the English Concert – another glorious performance (even the New York Times reviewer thought so). Also nicely reviewed by the Times was the fourth performance I wanted to tell you about – my composer friend Eve had a show at the Morgan last Friday. Her work draws upon all kinds of eclectic influences and incorporates video and electronic sound, we went along not really knowing what it would be like, and had a delightful evening.

Exhibitions
Both the Met and the Morgan have had some particularly excellent exhibitions recently, and I’ve been more than usually grateful for my entry privileges to both institutions. Highlights include Medieval time, 20th century photography, pre-Colombian treasures, and Medusa.

Food and drink
One thing which makes life meaningful for us is sharing meals with friends old and new, whether that’s a simple home-cooked offering (or, if Tom’s involved, a culinary extravaganza using every piece of kitchen equipment that we own), or a visit to a restaurant. We were treated to a spectacular Easter dinner by a lovely friend from choir, which was a particularly special evening, although our more standard cheap-and-cheerful excursions are always enjoyable.

Being outside
Other than our mountain excursions, I went ice skating just once in Bryant Park – the rink is open from November through to early March, and I usually spend the whole winter planning-but-failing to go. This is made worse by the fact that they don’t charge an entry fee if you have your own skates, and since I invested $5 in a pair from a thrift store a few years ago I really have no excuse. However, the weather has been very odd so far this year, with two or three randomly summer-hot days, weeks of UK-style grey rain, a late cold snap, and snow just after Easter. Whatever the weather, though, I never get tired of the fact that I get to walk through either Central or Bryant Park every day I’m in the city, and it always serves to remind me just how lucky I am.

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