New York, December 2004
First and foremost I want to wish you all a very happy Holiday season. I hope you all get to spend it with your loved ones and in good health. As you know, every year at around this time I start giving thought at the year that's about to end and the year that’s to come and after looking back at the lessons behind every incident, every decision, every expectation, I make an analysis of who I am as a human being today as a result and think about whether I am in the right track to being the kind of person I want to be. It is also very important for me to share the important things in my life with people who are important to me. And if I can’t share every minute of every day with everyone, I can put all the highlights of my year on paper and hope that in some level it means something to someone.
This year has been full of surprises and firsts for me. By looking at something from a different perspective you can learn something really important about yourself and other people.
Things I am thankful for/ lessons I’ve learned/ noteworthy experiences:
In my personal life, I have had a very rewarding year. Much better than last year anyway. This year my family and I enjoyed a very positive, empowering relationship. I finally reached a point in my life where I can say I am appreciative of the individual traits that each of my family members has and am comfortable enjoying them. Everyone is happy, healthy, and doing well. Needless to say, this has been very important to me because it has provided me with the strength to push forward even at times when all I want to do is give up...
This year I turned 25 years old - I probably shouldn't have put that in writing. I thought that I would feel worse about being as old as I am (don’t get me wrong, I have felt OLD), but my girlish, youthful looks prevent me from obsessing about such an unimportant detail. Besides, I am still not as mature as I'd like to be, or perhaps even should be; and although I am coming to terms with the fact that I am not quite grown up, at the tender age of 25 I am no longer someone who expects people to remain living as though they are 17, and so I don't either. So, this year I started the practice of washing my dishes right after I use them, pressing my clothes after I wash them (Thank God for starch!), and ordering from the menu things I have never tried but could potentially like.
In terms of friends, I am happy to say that most of my old friends are still there, and I even added one or two more to my collection this year J Though I have learned a thing or two that have turned me off from certain people, I have learned to accept the things that I can’t change as long as I can live with them. In any case, I’ve been extremely lucky as to have kept in touch with my good friends-especially those who are REALLY far away. I have loved having had the opportunity to host many of them in their visits to NY and well, I hope I’ll continue to be able to do so in the years to come. Part of having friends is being a friend!
All of my friends who have gone overseas to fight Bush’s war continue to be okay. This was a VERY difficult year for them and their friends and family, but they have been lucky to count on the support of their loved ones to help them through. Hopefully they will all go home soon, as they have people anxiously waiting for their safe return.
But back in the home front...
Back in May I met Matilda, who is the first child of any of my friends . So cute so cute so cute!!! Suddenly, my friend has grown into a full blown woman. It is actually really impressive. Also Mike (who is currently serving in Iraq) and his wife, Heike, had a little baby girl this year: Aimee Elizabeth. She is also beyond adorable, and it’s adorable to talk to Mike about her. He grew up too!! Just when you think you know people, they'll come right out and surprise you and then impress you.
These past few weeks while I was writing out my Holiday cards, I realized that one by one my friends are all entering a state of couplehood and that I was writing two names in most of my cards. That was a weird acknowledgment: the entry into the world of playing house. Though I wonder how they do it, I caught myself wondering what it would be like to try (in case you are wondering, I also wonder what gasoline tastes like...).
Back in June, I saw the first of my friends get married (well the second…actually, the third but for the first wedding I was too sick to care, and the second couple eloped so this was the first time I was able to fully participate). Although at first I was pretty upset about it because I thought I had lost my only feminist/democrat/tree-hugging friend, now I am more comfortable with this new situation (and of course, the guy). Watching their marriage, actually ALL of their marriages, it has occurred to me that no matter what it is that I know from experience, truly loving the person you are with really does make a difference.
This year I experienced love for the first time since I was like 16, though I get the feeling that maybe that first time didn't really count. For the first time in my life I felt an uninvited immeasurable amount of selfless love for someone, and what's more, I even felt empowered enough to fight for it. From this experience I learned that love is a beautiful thing and although you can't make people love you, or control who you love, you are free to love anyway and you should even if it hurts. By the same token, you should also embrace it.
ANYWAY…ONTO OTHER THINGS
I stepped inside a church this year. Yes, I did it on purpose too!! My relationship with the higher being seems to be improving. Maybe it is because I reached the level of desperation I always felt people must have in order to believe in what they can’t see or explain; in any case, I am warming up to the idea of the whole God thing. Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to step inside of a church and not feel like I am going to get struck by lightning if I sit down.
This year I switched jobs and contrary to a lot of the things I say, I think that this was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I finally found something I enjoy which also happens to be something that I am good at. As a result, I now live with a permanent sense of relief. One can be extremely humbled as a result of a stroke of good luck…
My new job has done things for me that I never would have imagined, like putting me in the position of being hugged by Hillary Clinton, shaking hands with Donald Trump, taking a VERY good look at Melania’s engagement ring, having a drink with Mayor Bloomberg, and talking “old country” with Oscar de la Renta. I have eaten fabulous meals in some of New York’s most amazing places, and have taken a look at the Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art after hours and for free J
I am getting so spoiled!
Now if only I could get a raise…hehehe
I exercised my right to protest and protested against the republican convention here in NY and am currently working on protesting against the proposed MTA fare hike.
For the first time EVER I went to the polls and voted. Hell, I voted twice this year (once here, once in DR). These were very proud moments for me because although in one country my guy won and on the other he didn’t, I feel like my vote truly made a difference. I made it a point to inform myself on the issues so that I could be the kind of voter that our candidates needed.
This year I bought my very first paid-for-in-cash designer bag. I also discovered that Delta Airlines is way better than American. My obsession with Marc Jacobs became secondary after I discovered how much I like to wear high heels, and Domenico and Stefano, Jimmy and Christian have become my new best friends. My closet has become home to more dresses than I ever thought I would own, and I have to admit that although I continue to hate shopping for clothes, my appreciation for owning nice things has increased. If nothing else, one should always be stylish.
I read an average of 2 books a month this year (3 if you count those self-help books), and got over my fear of generic brands. I made a deal with “God” and I went for six months without eating chocolate, but I also started eating like a normal person again and have somehow managed to keep off the weight I lost. GO ME! I also ran 5 miles a day for the better part of this year, and managed to do it in 50 minutes or less (46 was my best time). Not bad for a girl! Wait. I must rephrase that. Not bad for THIS girl. Before I’m 30 I’ll run the NYC marathon!
New Year’s resolutions:
I shall try to quit smoking (effective January 3, 2005)
I will get a new job
I will run six miles in less than an hour
I will travel more than I did this year.
I will learn when to quit
I will learn how to cook
I will try to get together with my friends, and in turn bring them together more often.
I will continue to work on my relationship with my family
*This resolution is private*
*This one is even more private*
Above all things though, I want to continue living a simple, uncomplicated life, full of people who love me and who can expect the same from me in return because like I've said before, without friends and loved ones nothing you do really means anything.
Now, my wish for all of you who somehow managed to get through this thing is that whatever happened to you this year, that you didn’t loose the lesson behind it. I hope that the coming year will be a good, productive one for you and that you’ll find yourself enjoying good health, love and happiness.
All my love and my best wishes,