“I started running the maze of
The names and the dates, some
Older than others the skyscrapers, little tombstone brothers
With Manhattan behind her, three million stunning reminders
Built a cemetery
In the center of Queens
You said, remember that life is
Not meant to be wasted
We can always be chasing the sun!
So fill up your lungs and just run
But always be chasing the sun!” — Sara Bareilles
Of all the songs about New York City, this is my favorite. It never explicitly mentions New York, but it captures, for me at least, what makes this city so special. The generations of people, immigrants, cultures, music, graveyards and beating hearts that have come and gone, hungry for a new life and leaving relics and reminders everywhere. In particular Calvary Cemetery in the center of Queens (pictured above), which houses 3 million souls that have passed.
This song also captures the fundamental essence of New York: a constant collision of old and new, past and future, forever seeking a balance between prosperity and crisis, rebirth and death. And somehow always surviving. And it was my internal anthem as I finished the NYC marathon in 2015, never imagining I’d be back in the hospital over and over again only months later, followed by the 2016 election crisis, #BLM, Covid, and attempting to move somewhere else Chasing Life and Sunshine and a little bit of mental peace only to discover I’d just left it behind.
But soon, this graveyard will be in my backyard, and Manhattan will be in my front. Constantly bringing this song back to mind. Because I’ll be back, once again, chasing life and a possible future for myself and the possibility of doing so for the very City that made me everything I am.
I admittedly feel very strange and a bit bittersweet coming back. I moved to Bermuda with the exact same mantra in mind, chasing sun and a possible life path and fresh start. Only to discover I “wasted” 18 months looking for what was already in front of me. Or at least across a river much closer by.
But the moment I see that I’ve used the word “wasted”, I have to pull myself up short. I have NEVER wasted time. I have also NEVER shied away from an adventure. Or an opportunity — which is how I see most things.
2 years ago, in August, I took the opportunity Covid and chaos offered, to try something new. Living in place of happy memories and endless sun. To see if life would be gentler, lighter, and more freeing from the stressors of my life in New York. And for a time, it was. Now I know I CAN move some place new, and even make new friends from strangers. But it also showed me what I hadn’t appreciated about New York and my life of love, sun, community and adventure there.
And I can’t wait to join it again.’’
Holly Lynch is a 20+ year ESG and DEI communications veteran, board member, strategist and investor who has helped individuals and companies tackle the toughest challenges, transitions and transformations in their worlds. Having survived countless life setbacks and two rounds with terminal cancer, while seeing the country-wide collapse of the systems and safety nets for the most vulnerable in and outside our communities, she is now shifting her life and career trajectories to focus on coaching and consulting with those facing down fundamental shifts and transitions as they try to adapt to change while rebuilding their lives and businesses during these unprecedented times.