Find a Bench
Find a Bench.Photo: Credit: Shutterstock. Pictures may be protected by copyright.
Why wooden slats can transform your life.
When my brother died three years ago, his family and friends decided to dedicate a bench on his favorite bike trail to his memory. Gathering there every year around his birthday has given us a way to celebrate his life and all the joy and innovation he left behind. (He has three super-talented kids and he worked on the precursor to Siri and Alexa.) I sat on the bench this weekend. Today, I went to my favorite bagel store on the East End of New York (where my parents honeymooned and I spent memorable summers and holidays with them and later on with my own family). Over the past ten years, I’ve gotten flavored coffee from the shop and sat on a bench in the sun, thinking about my life and my visions for the future. A combination of Vitamin D, caffeine, memories, and morning calm helps me focus on the things I’ve done over the years and what I want to do next in my life and work. The term “ benched ” has taken on negative connotations in the online dating and sports world , but for me, benching is transformational. Here’s why: Sitting in the same place at the same general time of day is comforting . The world is changing rapidly around us, but a bench is in the same place (usually). Like me, it’s weathering with the years but still relatively stable. Benching, like meditating, forces us to sit still and think . Watching the real world (rather than a tiny screen) is relaxing. Sometimes random strangers or people I know will join me on the bench and we’ll have fun and interesting conversations . I’m not the only person who loves benches. In New York’s Central Park, more than 4,000 benches have been “adopted” and personalized with plaques. Many movies have prominently featured a bench in their storylines. Whether you’re sitting solo on a bench or having a meaningful conversation, the moments you spend there can be special ones. “That looks uncomfortable” one of my Facebook friends posted on my wall when I put up a picture of “my” bench. He was right on one level. Sitting on wood is not nearly as comfy as sprawling on a duvet or tanning on a chaise or warm sand. But it can result in incredible moments, memories, and decisions — throughout a lifetime. The bench The caffeine The view from the bench Thinking visionary things