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my ridiculousness

July 19, 2011

On any given day, as I run from work to pick up Maya and then hit the grocery store and the dry cleaners…I feel overwhelmed. 

But guess what? When I’m on vacation and I have nothing to do and I face a whole bunch of empty hours…I also feel overwhelmed.

The best part of NYC? Someone else does the driving. Oh and Maya? I don't like the running shoes/dress combination. Not one bit.

“I’m a bit nervous,” I told Ali yesterday morning.“How am I supposed to fill an entire day when I have no schedule? No plan?”

Ali just shook his head, mapped out a Starbucks on his iPhone, and took off to spend quality time with his laptop.  

Cirque del Soleil's Zarkana at Radio City Music Hall...

After I eased my conscience by surreptitiously checking in on Maya at her first day of NYC summer camp (I’m not completely heartless – just very close) I decided to just start walking around the city completely agenda-less.

Dinner at Tao...

I discovered Chelsea Market, shopped at a new-to-me Anthropologie, and browsed a random farmer’s market. I walked to Union Square and spent an hour in a bookstore and then perused the biggest shoe store ever – DSW.

I battled the madness known as Eataly and ate lunch. By myself. I hit up Macy’s and Whole Foods and Central Park and then, before I knew it, it was time to meet Maya’s bus.

Dinner at Trattoria del Arte. It wasn't as good as we remembered...

And when all was said and done, and I’d walked more than 45 blocks and far too many avenues, I realized that I had one of the best days ever. So it was a good day, but I still felt guilty that it was a day filled with doing nothing I needed to do and everything I wanted to do.

Tell me, will there ever come a time where I don’t feel guilty about something?

105 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2011 12:35 am

    Besides you and your kid, are those real people? 😕

    • July 19, 2011 2:01 pm

      They are real people in full make up…they were part of the Cirque de Soleil show.

  2. July 19, 2011 12:48 am

    Well it’s really not that ridiculous Ameena. Even I feel the same. Guilty about everything!!!

  3. July 19, 2011 12:49 am

    Not feeling guilty takes practice. Trust me.

    My Spanish life is a far cry from my 9 – 5, financial, trading career that was budding in the U.S. But my goal and purpose for living in Madrid is different.

    Surprisingly it is easier for me to feel less guilty here. Once we move back to the States I have no doubt I will have to start my “no guilt practice” all over again. The pressures and standards that I hold myself to are admittedly quite ridiculous at times.

    Moral of the story – move to Spain and be guilt free with me. Once we move back I will asking you to remind me of my “practice” advice, okay? 🙂

    • July 19, 2011 2:02 pm

      The great thing about living in Europe is that nobody feels guilty there for enjoying life. I love it there!

      • Leslie permalink
        July 25, 2011 12:11 pm

        I heartily second this. We’d all benefit from more of a European mentality toward life.

        La Dolce Vita!

  4. Thetreadmilldiaries permalink
    July 19, 2011 3:05 am

    Nothing to feel guilty about – sounds like you spent a great day in NY doing exactly what you wanted. What’s better than that? All the things you have to do can wait till next time.

  5. Janelle permalink
    July 19, 2011 3:30 am

    I am told that those who don’t feel guilt are sociopaths. Consider your guilt a nod towards your humanity. Sounds like a great day!

  6. July 19, 2011 4:17 am

    Wow, what a day. Welcome to NYC and can’t wait to see you. I generally feel guilty and stressed whether I do a lot or a little. I’m not proud of that.

  7. July 19, 2011 4:17 am

    Awww… I’m glad it turned out to be a good day!

    I get nervous with no set plans, either. Usually, I need at least one or two things set- and then set the rest of the time for “random”. But a WHOLE free day? Oh dear… anxiety sets in just thinking about it…

    • July 19, 2011 2:03 pm

      So I’m not alone in the “empty day must fill it” syndrome. Nice to know!

  8. July 19, 2011 4:44 am

    Oh my God Ameena….”still felt guilty” – that is EXACTLY me. Even if I have a day off – even just the weekend – if I spend it just browsing stores, going to a movie, reading a book – I feel guilt. I should be working, trying to find that writing job, working on a book – so I can get out of my job and change my future…make more money, clean, go somewhere relevant….ugh, so sick of it. It’s torture.

    Trying to learn that it’s okay and NORMAL to do those things…

    I hope you get rid of that guilt and have every day doing whatever you want to do!! No matter what – time spent at a bookstore, or eating lunch or shopping = the same. They’re all just important 🙂

    • July 19, 2011 2:04 pm

      I feel a bit less guilty on the weekend because other people are slacking off with me. But on vacation…during a weekday? The guilt is definitely present…

  9. July 19, 2011 5:11 am

    That sounds like a perfect day…you can choose whatever you want to do, which is what most of us would want.

    How long are you in NYC? I may be able to get into the city later this week, and would love to meet you!

    • July 19, 2011 2:05 pm

      Hi Lisa – I am here until Saturday morning and would love to meet up! Let me know if you end up coming into town.

  10. July 19, 2011 5:12 am

    this sounds like the most amazing day! Don’t feel guilty one bit.

    PS glad maya did OK on the bus!!

  11. July 19, 2011 5:40 am

    I am sure that day all by yourself in NYC must be exactly what you wanted, some alone time! Don’t feel guilty, you deserve every bit of it!

    The last shot of you and Maya is beautiful!

  12. July 19, 2011 6:13 am

    I like how Maya opened the car door for you!

  13. July 19, 2011 6:23 am

    I love love love Anthropologie but sadly never visited their store in NYC (because it’s not fun to go shopping with my husband & sons in tow). Sounds like you had a divine time! So jealous… 🙂

    Time well-spent and you deserve it. I know what you mean though. I used to feel guilty like that but not anymore.
    We all need that kind of time (to do nothing) to recharge from our busy lives. It might sound selfish but it’s *good* for your soul!

    Love the last picture of you and Maya. Two beautiful ladies with fabulous hair!

    • July 19, 2011 2:07 pm

      Thank you Lydia! The only thing I don’t love about humidity is the resulting frizzy hair situation so your comment is especially appreciated!

  14. July 19, 2011 6:23 am

    Probably not! I feel guilty when I don’t feel guilty! Enjoy the time to breathe and explore that fabulous city! You deserve it!!

    • July 19, 2011 2:14 pm

      I feel guilty about feeling guilty too! It’s a ridiculous Catch-22.

  15. July 19, 2011 6:27 am

    I also feel guilty when I have a block of free time with nothing I HAVE to do. like I’m supposed to be productive or something silly like that. And then I slap myself (figuratively) and say “Heck, Jessie, enjoy this free time – we all need some downtime!” So, don’t feel guilty, Ameena! I’m so glad you had a great time wandering around NYC! It such a fun city to get “lost” in for a while and just enjoy checking out all the stuff packed into a little area. I hope you’ll get to do it again and again! 😀

    I’m glad Maya was ok on the bus! I’m actually liking the dress-and-sneakers combo – probably because I wish I could get away with it 😉 Have a lovely week, Ameena!

    • July 19, 2011 2:16 pm

      Maybe I’m just bitter that I can’t carry off the sneakers-dress combo? Good point!

  16. July 19, 2011 6:39 am

    I actually like having no plans, I’m kind of a wanderer, do what I want type of gal.
    Which is wierd bc I am also kind of a control freak, but when I’m in a big city I like to just explore. Looks like you had a great day, and think of it this way: you may have done all that for yourself, but by keeping your sanity, those around you also benefit 🙂

    • July 19, 2011 2:17 pm

      I will definitely check with Ali and Maya to see if they’ve benefited from my alone time. 🙂

  17. July 19, 2011 7:19 am

    Ahhh, your day sounds beyond fabulous. I love the wondering and NYC is the perfect city to do that.

    I have a huge sense of guilt or ‘discomfort’ in a lot I do. It’s annoying as hell!

  18. July 19, 2011 7:39 am

    Ah guilt, I feel that a lot when I take time for myself as well- what’s the guilt for though? Maya was away having fun at summer camp, Ali was working, so of course you more than deserve a day to yourself perusing one of your favourite cities 🙂 Sounds like it was a lot of fun- ahhh I want to visit NYC so bad!

    • July 19, 2011 2:18 pm

      My ever-present guilt has no rhyme or reason…unfortunately.

  19. July 19, 2011 7:39 am

    I’ve long lost the guilt over doing what I want to do. I went from an overachiever to a happier underachiever 😀

  20. July 19, 2011 7:50 am

    Going to Cirque de Soleil shows are the best. “O” is by far my favorite and a definite feast for the eyes.

    I can so relate to having a day to yourself and after 10 minutes feeling anxious and guilty. I just try to remember all those sleepless nights and hours upon hours of housework, the countless times our children embarrass us in public and on and on.

    After a little trip down memory lane I am able to enjoy myself much better.

    • July 19, 2011 2:20 pm

      I suddenly feel a little less guilty Marie! I’m remembering the sleepless nights myself…

  21. actorsdiet permalink
    July 19, 2011 8:12 am

    nyc is my perfect place to do nothing. next stop for you – union square, and ABC kitchen.

    • July 19, 2011 2:20 pm

      I hit Union Square yesterday and spent hours there! Loved it.

  22. July 19, 2011 8:33 am

    Enjoy your time in that beautiful city!! I love it and it sounds so relaxing!

  23. July 19, 2011 8:41 am

    Daaaaahling, just enjoy yourself, life is short and the Big Apple is at your feet! Don’t forget to eat a bagel in my honour, and I will eat a croissant for you!
    *kisses* HH

  24. July 19, 2011 8:43 am

    I feel guilty when I don’t have anything work to do…it’s should be the best feeling ever but really I just feel unproductive.

    And then I’m annoyed when I have TOO much work to do.

    Sighhh, I will find balance one of these days.

  25. July 19, 2011 8:44 am

    Give me a day of nothing to do and I am a happy camper! If I’m on vacation even better. It’s probably fun to explore a new city on your own.

  26. July 19, 2011 8:46 am

    aaaaaaw! thats just my kind of day. You totally deserve a break from work and other things! Enjoy 🙂

  27. July 19, 2011 8:56 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed your day! 🙂

  28. July 19, 2011 9:13 am

    I love that picture of you and Maya!!

    Im glad it turned out to be such a good day, even if you didnt have any plans. Sometimes those can be the best days.

  29. July 19, 2011 9:26 am

    I am envious that you went to Eataly! I totally wanted to go but we didn’t fit it into our trip. I guess I’ll have to return! Also, I think it’s pretty great that you have figured out how to travel as a family and let everyone do what he/she wants.

    • July 20, 2011 7:30 pm

      Doing our own thing totally makes family vacations painless. 🙂

  30. Lauren permalink
    July 19, 2011 9:41 am

    You are a female, the guilt will never leave!

  31. July 19, 2011 10:12 am

    Ahh guilt! I feel guilty when I do too much or too little all the time lol! I think Maya looks endearing with the sneaker/dress combo 😉

  32. July 19, 2011 10:15 am

    Pretty much sounds like the best day ever! I can’t wait to see pictures of your shopping finds. And I hope in between all that fancy food, you had a chance to try my favorite food cart 🙂

    • July 20, 2011 7:31 pm

      I haven’t made it to your food cart yet…the 90 degree weather just doesn’t make sidewalk eating very appetizing for some reason!!

  33. July 19, 2011 11:28 am

    Don’t feel guilty! Everyone deserves a little time to themselves…to do absolutely nothing!

    And I LOVE that last pic of you and Maya – beautiful!

  34. magicofspice permalink
    July 19, 2011 1:03 pm

    You shouldn’t feel guilty, you are supposed to be having fun…and sounds like you are 🙂

  35. July 19, 2011 1:07 pm

    I went to eataly too! and dsw, and whole foods!! 🙂

  36. July 19, 2011 1:14 pm

    nyc isnt all that cool when your NOT on vacation and living there…just looking at the tourists makes me burn! but im glad you had a great time!

    • July 20, 2011 7:36 pm

      I feel the same way about non-LA drivers…seeing license plates from other states kind of annoys me when they don’t understand how to drive…

  37. July 19, 2011 1:28 pm

    I think your day sounds perfect…I love wandering around and doing basically nothing…Unfortunately nobody I know also enjoys it!

  38. July 19, 2011 2:45 pm

    I think that sounds like such a great day! You totally deserved that time on your own! I still haven’t been to Eataly, believe it or not. I think I must be the last New Yorker who hasn’t!
    So looking forward to seeing you!

    • July 20, 2011 7:36 pm

      It was fantastic meeting with you today Sam! I hope we can do it again soon.

  39. July 19, 2011 2:49 pm

    I can’t stand not having a plan either or nothing to do. Gives me anxiety. Looks like you did a splendid job filling up your day with fun things. Oh and I can’t believe you just discovered Anthropologie. I love that store!

    • July 20, 2011 7:37 pm

      I just discovered a new-to-me NYC location…not Anthropologie as a store. 🙂

  40. July 19, 2011 3:50 pm

    It is in the Chinese tradition to train daughters to find things to feel guilty about on a daily basis. At the very least, I should feel guilty about not feeling guilty.

    But you certainly should not feel guilty about enjoying your vacation. Actually, in your shoes my mother would be guilt tripping me if I wasn’t having as much fun as possible, because all this money’s going to the plane ticket and hotel and expensive food so I’m going to /like/ it, dammit. You’re not doing nothing; you’re justifying the cost of the trip.

    • July 20, 2011 7:38 pm

      I do believe that feeling guilty about everything is the Indian tradition as well Tamara!

  41. July 19, 2011 6:31 pm

    My Catholic upbringing has made me feel guilty about everything. Damn you Jesus. Yes I should probably feel guilty writing that statement but somehow it just feels good 🙂

    PS – get any good shoes while shoppping??

    • July 20, 2011 7:39 pm

      I didn’t buy shoes from DSW but I did buy some from Bloomingdale’s. Typical, right?

  42. July 19, 2011 7:22 pm

    I’d never feel guilty about spending a day just doing what I feel like. Way to take advantage of all that free time, seems like you did so much!

  43. July 19, 2011 7:28 pm


    It’s great to hear you’re having a good time in NYC. That’s the best part of a vacation, when you just wander around aimlessly doing nothing and anything you want. Kudos to you, my dear! Precious pictures of you and Maya. I love that last one of the two of you. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  44. July 19, 2011 7:41 pm

    That sounds like a wonderful day! Ignore those guilt feelings. I’ve been thinking alot about this kind of stuff. How we never feel like we’re doing enough. At work. At home. I think we just have to change our minds about it consciously!

  45. July 19, 2011 9:01 pm

    I can’t imagine that the guilt will ever stop…looks like you had a fantastic day, though! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to spend every waking moment doing kid stuff. 🙂

    • July 20, 2011 7:40 pm

      The truth is that I don’t even want to spend 10 minutes doing kid stuff. I’m going to regret admitting that won’t I?

  46. July 20, 2011 7:01 am

    What a day… You filled it splendidly. I’m impressed. Oh how I dream of being able to spend my days roaming the streets of amazing cities like NYC. Great pictures, love the Creepy clown one. 🙂

  47. July 20, 2011 9:39 am

    A wise woman at a party once said to me, “Life is a gift. I don’t have to DO anything with it.”

    Revolutionary, life-changing and perfect.

    • July 20, 2011 7:41 pm

      Wow. So simple and yet so life-changing. Thank you for sharing.

  48. July 20, 2011 3:30 pm

    I always have the most fun when I’m by myself doing what I want. I know it makes me selfish, but it does make me less of an asshole when I’m expected to be around my loved ones. As an aside, you’re gorgeous!

  49. July 20, 2011 7:11 pm

    1. Eataly is a trip, isn’t it?

    2. Every time I think you’re my role-model parent, you out-role-model yourself. Sending Maya to day camp so you can enjoy the city? You’re gonna need to write me a how-to.

    • July 20, 2011 7:43 pm

      I can definitely provide you with a guide on how to outsource your child to others…I am an expert!!

  50. July 20, 2011 7:56 pm

    I have felt more guilty and overwhelmed this past week (on vacation) then I have in a long time. I think I’m finally not distracted enough…and when my mind gets going…its hard to rein it in! But thanks for making me smile tonight (you always do), and I hope you are having a week full of love and joy. Hugs and love.

  51. July 21, 2011 4:34 am

    Looks like you had fun.
    And don’t feel guilty , we all need our day off.;)

  52. July 21, 2011 9:51 am

    haha yes! you feel more guilty 24/7!

  53. July 21, 2011 11:03 am

    What camp is she doing in NYC? I would have loved a day to roam around that city kid free! It sounds like you made the best of it. Did you grab a gelato at Eataly? Seriously good stuff. 🙂

    • July 21, 2011 3:50 pm

      I will email you the name of the camp and no, I didn’t get to have gelato at Eataly. There was too much selection and I had no space for dessert!

  54. July 21, 2011 12:00 pm

    Lately been asking myself the exact same question, ‘when will I ever stop feeling guilty’, and also…”When will I stop feeling nervous/anxious/afraid of all these little things?!”

    • July 21, 2011 3:53 pm

      I’m 35 and it hasn’t happened yet. The outlook doesn’t look too promising for me!

  55. July 21, 2011 12:11 pm

    How fun… I used to work in NYC a couple of times and year, trade shows on the peers and we always ate at Trattoria Del Arte but then it became worst and worst… I love the Spice Market but I guess the Budda did not come from there. You seem in your element, enjoy.

    • July 21, 2011 3:56 pm

      You are absolutely right…when we went there in November it was fantastic. But this time? It was pretty average and really expensive! It was $18 ( or something) for a pizza! I couldn’t believe it.

  56. July 21, 2011 5:15 pm

    haha-so glad you enjoyed yourself and no need to feel guilty. you guy look great and maya is so cute, even in the dress/sneakers combo. 🙂

  57. July 21, 2011 7:30 pm

    I definitely feel GUILT a lot. Trying to work through it is hard work!!

  58. bubblymel permalink
    July 21, 2011 8:58 pm

    Oh don’t feel guilty!!! I would love to spend a whole day in NYC with endless amounts of free time!!

  59. Galit Breen permalink
    July 22, 2011 7:42 pm

    It sounds like an absolutely perfect day! I love that you had to yourself and I hope that it got more fun than guilt-inducing by the end! XO

  60. July 23, 2011 12:14 pm

    I can *so much* relate to this! Free time scare me, so I like to fill it with stuff (in my case: scientific reads, which is nice because there’s *always* something interesting to read ;)).

    Seriously: A lot of my self-esteem comes from feeling productive. If I don’t feel productive, I start questioning the meaning of my life. A crucial break-through was to understand that *feeling* productive and *being* productive isn’t the same: I can very well be productive in terms of self-growth and personal development but don’t feel productive, because productivity (in my mind) is closely related to work and performance kind of things. I had to learn that there are other kinds of productivity as well, and nothing is for nothing, if you go out of it with new experiences and having learned something, or just had fun.

  61. July 25, 2011 10:46 am

    Your day sounds absolutely amazing!!! And a huge shoe store – I may have spent my entire day there 😉 Ahhh the guilt thing – it’s only human (well for most people) I do it way too much (feel guilty) guess it’s the parent in us? I know we can be selfish, but we have that little inner part of us that shoots that guilt…..wish his aim was off from time to time. Anyway…so happy for you!!! Sounds like you are having a wonderful time, and Maya looks very happy.

  62. Leslie permalink
    July 25, 2011 12:09 pm

    Dinner at Tao! Love it! I’m behind in my emails so I just got to read this entry. Is Maya enjoying camp? So glad you’re having a wonderful time.

  63. July 29, 2011 12:33 am

    NYC is definitely a walking city and that’s why I love it so much. It is sort of like back home: you can eat lots and lots good food but you won’t gain (too much) if you walk everywhere.

    It sounded like you had a wonderful New York kind of day. So happy for you!

  64. July 29, 2011 12:38 am

    Oh wrt. the guilt thing: after many years of feeling guilty of evverything that I did or didn’t do, I figured it out: since I am going to feel guilty anyway, I am just going to go ahead and have fun first.

  65. August 1, 2011 3:40 pm

    It’s great to have some quality time for yourself. Guilt is just a norm of humanity and humility 🙂

  66. October 15, 2011 7:33 am

    omg, did you take Ameena to Tao? That’s hilarious if you did… that is a such a celeb-adult hangout. i would loveeeeeeeeeeee to recommend some places for you and your family when you are here, if you let me. i am so anal about food!

    • October 16, 2011 7:57 am

      We’ve taken Maya to Tao twice…she’s loved it both times! I would love your recommendations…definitely want to try some new places, although I’m sure we’ll end up at some of our favorites again.


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