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The Fifth Floor

Hello Boss!

In my early twenties, I lived on the fifth floor of a 450 square foot walkup in New York above a bagel shop with my effable roommate Stephanie Hebert from Louisiana.

No bellman.

Just two doors leading you up to five flights of narrow stairs. A thin inset of colorful tiles buffeted up against the black banister.

In the City, I’d be surrounded by the sounds of striving. Yellow cars honking, manholes steaming, jackhammers rattling.

Stephanie slept on a four-post wooden bed with intricate carvings. I slept on a beige futon that opened up with one pull.

Our only two windows open to a brick wall. The radiator hissed slyly through its narrow eyes.

Before I drifted off to sleep, I‘d write in a blue journal with red stitching. There, I’d reach for my future.

There, I’d dream with my eyes and ears wide open and compose a life dynamic and in full technicolor.

I found that the same blue journal which not only described the full and dynamic life I have today — also gave me a glimpse into a life full of simple pleasures.

It taught me two things.

1) What you write down you reach. You need to coax and breathe your dreams to life by writing with emphatic detail. Full of color. Full of sound.

2) Life is here and now

Most of my joys didn’t cost much money.

Homemade crawfish etouffee. Sunday brunches on the west side. Reading feng shui books cross-legged at a corner of Barnes & Noble. A blanket is full of friends. Shakespeare in Central Park. Two-mile runs along the reservoir. Long conversations with Stephanie that lingered through the night.

The best truth? I was just as happy back then as I am today.

I am living on the fifth floor, I had no title, no car, no business, not even a gym membership yet I still managed to enjoy my life well.

True power and happiness arrive in the present moment.

There’s nothing wrong with striving, reaching or trying.

I believe in winning.

I also believe in stopping.

For just a moment, take a glimpse and realize that may be wherever you are is all right, even if you are living in the fifth floor of a small New York apartment.

It’s more than all right.

It’s happy.

It’s all good.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the power of using your voice.”

MICHELLE OBAMA

RECOMMENDED JOURNAL

Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice by Michelle Obama

By Michelle Obama NATIONAL BESTSELLER • What’s your journey of becoming? Based on Michelle Obama’s bestselling memoir, this gorgeous journal features an intimate and inspiring introduction by the former First Lady and more than 150 inspiring questions and quotes to help you discover—and rediscover—your story.

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