Reasons and Excuses

Lately, I have been wondering when do reasons become excuses. I have also been wondering about those times when we let something that is an accurate reason become an excuse for not doing something.

At what time does my saying that I have issues with my health become an excuse for not trying to do something rather than the reason? I have wanted to go to New York City for a long time. I have also been terrified of gong to New York City. That fear has nothing to do with the city and everything to do with my fear of the unknown.

I used to live outside Boston and travelled many times on the subway. I have even driven in Boston. Granted, that wasa long time ago. New York was an unknown. I do have some issues with my health. Primarily having the energy levels of a sleeping sloth. It is also difficult for me to walk long distances and go up a flight of stairs. The question I must ask myself is whether these are reasons or excuses.

I ask that question because, while I know it is difficult I also know it is possible.

The day for my journey arrived and I found myself afraid to go. I was afraid to drive the three hours to my daughter’s house. I was also nervous about the next stage of driving,  the nearly four hours to my friend’s house.

My friend Diana’s house was the launching off point for the train into the city. This trip had been on my life list for some time. I really wanted to do this. I was also feeling that I couldn’t do this because of the unknown quantities involving my health. But as my daughter told me, New York has plenty of hospitals to take care of my heart.

Diana was the perfect safety buddy. Her husband plotted out our trip. We knew what subway train we needed and when to get off the train. Diana is also fearless about asking for help. Everything was going to be great.

And then we got off the train. I have very little stamina. However, when faced with no other choice I can do what I need to do. And in this case, it was walking a very long distance from where we got off the train to the subway. It was slow going and I held onto Diana’s arm for most of it. But I made it to the subway train. Diana was fantastic at recharging the Metro cards and we even made it through the gates without problem. Then came our arrival at Union Station. I had to climb several flights of stairs and then walk the distance to our destination. I never looked up and focused on the stair I was stepping on to until I reached the top.

We made it to our destination, the Strand bookstore. I would love to say that I was able to absorb all of what I saw around me. I was too exhausted from the journey to the store to really take it all in. But I made it and even made it back to Diana’s house. I would love to do this trip again. And perhaps the next time see a play. Since neither of us are picky we will see whatever we can get tickets to see. And maybe I will go back to the bookstore.

What I had seen as reasons for not going, or for doing quite a few other things, are sometimes excuses I use when I am afraid or anxious. Sometimes those health issues are real reasons for my not doing something. I am getting better at seeing when the reasons are really excuses in hiding. I would hate to think what I would have missed if I had given in like I have so many times in the past. I would have missed a wonderful time getting to know my friend better. And I would have missed all the wonderful people of New York who helped us on our journey. Especially the man who gave me his seat on the subway.


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