This past week or two it's been pretty difficult to shut things off at night mentally when I need to sleep. I wake up at 3 or 4, toss and turn, get up to write things down, stay in bed and not write things down. (I've tried both; either way, it doesn't seem to help.)
For me, the best prescription for when I can't sleep, because all my to-do lists are crowding up my mind, overlapping each other, piling up and demanding attention?
Walk around a very large place that stimulates other parts of my brain. Walk, walk, walk, preferably with a good friend who helps you remember what's important.
Which is how I spent my Saturday in New York City.
But as we walked, I took it all in: seeing things and people and designs and colors and shapes that just pushed aside those endless stacks of to-dos and worries and frets and such.
In SoHo, we feasted on tartines - open-faced turkey, avocado and sprouts; prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella with pesto and tomatoes - at my friend's her favorite lunch place (she's moved out of the country, so she was reconnecting, too).
We stopped at a bread bakery I love to stock up, shopped a little, then headed to the Museum of Modern Art to enjoy the Picassos, Rousseaus and Van Goghs. The Starry Night is like the ocean for me - I could stare at that painting for ever, with its swirls of blues and greens that turn this way and that.
But most of all, the two of us gabbed and caught up and relaxed -- which was the perfect way to clear the over-crowded slate.
Before taking the train back from the city, we suddenly realized we were famished. So we made our way to Burger Joint and devoured the best burgers I've had in a long time.
Thick, juicy, laden with cheese and loaded with lettuce, tomato and ketchup, our orders ready by the time we handed over the cash.
The place has the look and feel of a dive - the menu at the register scribbled in sharpie on corrugated cardboard; your fries tossed into a plain brown paper bag and your burger's wrapped in stiff, white butcher paper). And while the burgers aren't cheap, they were worth every buck.
Riding home on the train, I couldn't remember the last time I felt so relaxed and ready for a good night's sleep. The day totally delivered.