When you step outside your normal routine, there's no telling what might happen. And as I learned last weekend on a rare trip to Newark/New York City, that's sort of the point.
It started back in February, surfing the Internet one night for concert tickets. Frankie Valli (of all people) had just been to San Diego. I couldn't go, didn't really want to go, and definitely didn't feel like seeing him at a casino.
But when there's a performer you've listened to your whole life and haven't seen since you were a young teenager, and that performer is now eighty-three, you start realizing it's now or maybe never.
Let's Do This
So in the spirit of "What if today were all I had?" I went online to look up Mr. Valli's touring schedule. Thirty minutes later, I had four primo seats to his upcoming concert in Newark—not at a casino but at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. I hadn't been, but it sounded perfect. (Spoiler alert: It was.)
And I knew who I wanted to invite: namely, two girlfriends who lived in the area. Both said yes, one of them recruited another friend, and our foursome was set.
From My Parents' Basement to the Eighth Row, Center Stage
When you were a kid, remember how clunky it was to listen to your favorite music? We didn't know this, of course. We blasted our cassettes and thought they (and we) were the coolest things since touch-tone phones.
I can remember putting albums on the family stereo in the living room, then hightailing it downstairs to listen through the speakers in the basement. And since we didn't have every album under the sun, the ones we had—we played incessantly.
The summer I turned twelve, one of those (double) albums was my brother's collection of the Four Seasons' early hits. The song "Stay" served as a constant, piercing reminder that my brother would be leaving in the fall for boarding school.
I had all but forgotten that song.
But hearing it last Friday "live" and up close brought everything back: the cool escape from the summer's heat that could always be found in the family basement, the mixed thrill of turning twelve, and missing my brother terribly before he had even left or packed.
Seriously, though, other than that one bittersweet memory, the concert was an absolute blast. Probably the best I've ever seen. If you like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and you get the chance to see them, do it.
Concert Was Just the Beginning
Though there's not time here to elaborate on all the other things the concert decision made possible, here are a few highlights. I mention these to help inspire your own version of "Let's Do This."
- Touring a nonprofit (Americares) in nearby Stamford, CT; getting a firsthand glimpse of their life-saving work
- Venturing into New York City not once but several times
- Having dinner in the Theater District with my cousin Kelly; first time in ten years. Sharing our hearts and laughing till we snorted.
- Going to Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Divine Mercy Sunday, with Cardinal Dolan celebrating
- Lighting a few candles in that beautiful church, saying a few prayers
- Finding a nearby public restroom with no line (Glory be to God!)
- Wolfing down a chili dog from a street vendor before heading home
What Would Be a Fun, Meaningful Adventure for You?
Maybe for you the adventure is on the West coast—or outside the U.S. The point is, if a small-town Midwesterner/California transplant like me can venture out, there's no telling what you could do.
I'll Leave You With This ...
Once when my dad and his friend Frank Ellis were traveling to a major basketball game, Frank said, "Cuz, we're never going to do it quite like this again." And they didn't.
But when you do it up right even once, somehow it's enough: enough to make your heart overflow, enough to spark a lifetime of adventure and gratitude.
When was the last time you planned something adventurous? If it's been awhile, why not get the ball rolling yet this week? I venture to say you'll be forever glad you did.
When you step outside your normal routine, there's no telling what might happen.
— Gina DeLapa