New Year, New Beginnings

I am sitting here with writer’s block trying to come up with something interesting to say…nope, no sudden inspiration.

I am tired as a dog, and all around me I see my friends working hard and feeling the pinch of this economy.  I think at this point, we are all in the same boat.

My life since the launch of this site in August 2008 has been interesting, to say the least.  Right after the launch, I left for a ten-day trip to visit my family in Florida knowing that I would come back to a busy, exciting fall in New York City…little did I know what I was in for!

Like everyone, whenever I get back from a trip I always have to scurry to catch up and get myself in gear. I decided to take my first weekend back home for myself and stay in to catch up on the piles of work that lay before me.

At roughly midnight on my first Saturday back in town, (four days after I had returned), it literally started raining in my apartment!  Apparently a drainpipe three floors above me had exploded and the result was severe water damage to all the apartments below it.  Mine was one of these apartments.

If you have ever experienced a flood in your home, you know how bad it is…everything in my closet got soaked, water was everywhere, and the thought of cleaning it all up and having the damage repaired was overwhelming.

It turned out to be as big a pain in the neck as I expected, but I found comfort knowing that I had emerged from the situation quite lucky.  Other apartments suffered far worse damage than mine.  Not that I would wish harm on anyone, but I needed a way to cope with the stress, and reminding myself that I came out relatively unscathed compared to some was the only silver lining I could find.

It took me about three weeks to clean up from the flood and begin the process of letting the walls, etc., dry out so we could proceed with the extensive structural repairs in the apartment.

On the heels of that adventure, one of my dear friends lost his beautiful fiancé to breast cancer.  Needless to say, he was absolutely devastated. All of his friends, including me, jumped into action to get him through the shock, loss, and horror of losing the love of his life.

It was a very humbling experience for me.  I did everything from sit with him for hours while he cried to help him select the clothes his fiancé would wear at her own burial.  The only other time I’ve had to choose the clothes for someone’s funeral was in 2006 for my beloved mom.  If you have ever done this, you know that it is an intense and surreal experience.

The first two weeks after his fiancé’s death, my friend was nearly suicidal; friends and family rallied, and we each took a shift with him to ensure that he was never alone.  Caring for him was a job that I gladly took on for several months, as I do believe that helping each other is God’s work and ultimately our highest calling.

I must say that watching him go through this tragedy made all my problems, including my recent flood “disaster,” seem very insignificant.  God always has a way of helping us put things in perspective, doesn’t He?

Once I got past the critical point with my friend and got back to my life, I realized that I had neglected to keep up with my own work and personal things for all those months.  Again, I scrambled to catch up just as the holidays were approaching.

The holidays flew by, and I took my usual two-week trip to Florida to visit my family only to return to New York City exhausted in January!

I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I must admit that there is nothing like a new year to make me look back and reflect on what worked and what did not.  I resolved in January that 2009 would be very different from 2008 in many ways.

I want a sense of calm in my life, and I want to catch up to the point that I don’t always feel six months behind.  I want more balance in my life and to not feel like I am always “flying by the seat of my pants.”

I want more time to socialize and enjoy my precious friends.  These people and relationships are not forever.  This lesson was ingrained very deeply in me this past fall when my friend lost his fiancé.  I want to make the relationships with my friends and family my priority and not let work and my “to do” list always get in the way.

Helping my friend get through the death of his fiancé reminded me how short life is (she was only 43) and that nothing is guaranteed to be here tomorrow…no job, relationship, person, material possession, or situation…nothing is guaranteed to last, and all things will come to an end eventually.  We must regard everything as impermanent and treasure what we have while we have it.

Let’s open our eyes and decide to enjoy every minute of this one life we get.  Let’s never miss an opportunity to be kind to another person or creature on this earth.

Let’s seek opportunities to offer help where help is needed and remember that we ultimately are here to serve each other.

Let’s all decide that 2009 will be the beginning of wonderful and miraculous things in our lives; that we will work hard to be the best version of ourselves possible.  Let us remember to control the things we can, and let go of the things we can’t.

Finally, let us each vow to make this year better than last year and next year better than this one.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” —Henry David Thoreau

Live with Simplicity,