Wednesday, December 31, 2008

10 Things on New Year's

"This was the world - a poor thing, but my own ..." (A. Huxley - The Doors of Perception)

I don't think I have ever lived through a year that's been more like Life as 2008 has been. All the ups and downs of life, the losses and the gains, the tears of absolute bliss and the ones of utter despair have passed over me and have seasoned and reshaped me like no other year has. It's been a long and also a short year, and in truthfulness, it's been as long as (almost) any other year's been. As always, I am grateful for all of it, and just like I said in the beginning of this year : as the willow stands in the field: I bend, but am not down yet!

Keeping in mind that life is made of bitter and sweet, and we can't have one without the other, here are ten things I'll remember about 2008 - the order is completely aleatory:

Five things I could not have done without:

1.0 My health, as much as I have it - as long as I have 4 members that work, a curious mind, a set of eyes, and ears, the ability to move about and work, a heart to feel with and a brain to process, everything else is just a task. Thank God for this one! Big time!!
2.0 My family and friends, far and near - their love, patience and time for me is priceless, year, after year, after year. Thank you all for being there, and for allowing me to give myself to you, in whatever shape, form, or quantity I can. It's an honor!
3.0 The whole Patrick experience: holding him in my arms for the first time, hearing him breathe in my ear, keeping him asleep for hours on my chest; seeing my sister being a mommy, seeing my mom's face light up with laughter when she sees him; having him in my house, full of curiosity and life - all of it. I live through him and for him; through his big smiles and his love of life!

Montreal - July 2008

4.0 Taking my aunt around the US - as much as I could. Just showing her around, and successfully finding our way through The Blueridge Parkway and Washington, DC and VA, and ... The bond, and the memories we built, the lessons we've learned about each other, our heritage. Thank you, Rodi!
5.0 Seeing America maturing politically. Finally! I am glad they reached this stage in my lifetime. And grateful.

Five things I could have done without:

1.0 So many, too many friends, close and not so much, that have lost their livelihood; their worry and even despair about what to put on the table tomorrow and how to pay for the roof over their head. Too many people, too close to "home" have experienced that this year. My heart goes out to them.
2.0 Giving mom and dad the news that my sister's in labor, more then 2 months before the due date. The wait, and the nervousness about Patrick's hospital stay, while he was in NICU.
3.0 Saying good bye to friends who have moved far and away, because job and economy situations intervened. I'll miss you dearly!
4.0 All the bad health news about family members, close friends, or pets: my sister's early labor, my mom's (unsuccessful) leg surgery, my friend's third hernia surgery, my dad's multiple injuries, and heart issues, my friends who lost parents, or best friends, or pets to sickness, and everyone out there that I know who have to deal with pain, every day. My prayers are out to you, prayers for strength and much health in the new year! If there is no health, there is no room for any other joy!
5.0 Losing my best friend, Jeff , to cancer. He has left a void so huge I have not yet found ways to fill it. I miss him every day, every hour, and I am still wishing him strength and happiness, and freedom, wherever he finds himself nowadays! I did not want to watch The Phillies win The Series without him! That one - I could have done without! But I can only hope that was one last irony he's given me - in his inimitable style of self-mockery that he loved!

Alexandria, VA - Thanks, Walter!

And as I am sitting down to have my last quiet and lonely supper of 2008, I leave you with a thought from Huxley that rang true to me. May each of us be strong, and healthy, and happy in the new year, and thus help the world be a better place. But it starts with each one of us.

" We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature, every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies - all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes. "

Happy New Year!

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