Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year's/Old Years

This stormy weather out there reminds me of my years in New York: the sound of the winter winds howling outside, the balls of hail bouncing off of the window panes, the air so cold that the minute the door opens to the outside, you’re already shivering. I am thankful this only lasts a few short days here in Jerusalem. The cold makes me cranky and my body moves slower. I hate cold drops dripping on me. Yet there is something endearing about being forced to get inside and spend some quiet time at home. Instead of wandering around town, the cold weather pushes me into the space that I’ve created for myself. Whether I like it or not the winter tells me: "Go be in your own space and enjoy it." Apparently I have difficulty with appreciating what I have.

So here I am: my warm apartment, a snuggly new pair of Old Navy pajama pants, and memories.

Ten years ago. New Year’s 2003. New York City.

I was young and clueless on so many levels. Looking back, I had so much going for me: a decently-paying job, a beautiful apartment in NYC, wonderful friends and a caring, affectionate boyfriend.  I shouldn’t have had a worry in the world, but at the time I was too uptight to realize that. I had (and still have) this talent at looking at what’s missing; what’s not perfect; what’s not there. So much so that I sometimes completely overlook what actually is there. What actually is going right

If I would’ve known then what I’d be like ten years later, would I have made the same choices?

Would I have said goodbye?

Would I have left the only man that I ever truly loved?

That evening, I had bought a bottle of sparkling grape juice along with a sleeve of small plastic cups (I had known that it was illegal to consume alcohol in public spheres; if nothing else, I've always been responsible and terribly socially conscious.) Boarding the A train, I set out for a 1.5 hr subway ride to JFK. I had encouraged him to go to London with a group because I felt it would give him clarity, inspiration. Maybe that was my way of giving us both some space. Likely it was a combination of all of that.
Somehow I had timed-out the journey accurately enough that I caught him just as he was boarding that same train. The doors opened, I was thrilled. Exhilarated to see him,  and proud of myself for having such damn good timing. 

We toasted a Happy New Year on the subway car back up to Manhattan, celebrating with a group of strangers, probably student-tourists trying to save a penny by not taking a taxi to the city (like us).

I recall being happy; lonely; happy. Always riding this see-saw ride, navigating between being in love and fearing the future.  Being in love, and yet always wondering what else, who else may be on the horizon. Somewhere better, someone better.

Ten years later, I look back. I see that life is about choices.

Nothing is perfect. No one is perfect. There comes a time when we all choose. Priorities. And we have to somehow deal with those imperfections called life. We grow, we make progress, we learn. 

Most importantly I am learning to be present and appreciate what I have in life. In many ways I am a perfectionist, and I'm damn good at avoiding things I don't think I can do perfectly. 

My desire is to be cherished. To cherish. To value the present and embrace the wonderful man who lays next to me. To build. To bring inspiration and meaning to those around me. Priorities.

I had that. I could have had it for longer, but I was too uptight to realize how good it was.

Then again, maybe memory is playing games on me. After all, I was not stupid or blinded. Yes I loved, and I was loved, but there were problems, issues. I had issues. I couldn't commit. I was scared. I certainly wanted to build back then, but my foundations wanted to be built halfway across the world. 

Ten years. 

Celebrating New Year's with memories from the Old Years.

But overall, delighting that this storm is bouncing off my window sill in Jerusalem.


  1. Only one question that you don't answer: where is the guy? it took me two years to goback to the guy i had met briefly in Amsterdam and another one to date and marry him....Just saying....

    1. What sane advice! do you think she didn't have these thoughts on her own??

      Dear NotTheConductor!
      Listen to your heart. Not to these do gooders.

  2. Reading between the lines I read regret. A lot of regrets.(the guy, the job, the carefree little pleasures and more...)don't we all wish to turn back time and enjoy the moments we had fully?!
    At times, I too reflect on those moments, but then I tell myself NO REGRETS!! look forward, move onward!

    No regrets they don't work
    No regrets they only hurt
    Sing me a love song
    Drop me a line
    Suppose it's just a point of view
    But I'm sure your'e doing fine

    Look the song up on YouTube and enjoy!

  3. whooo! this sentence hit the nail on the head (on my head!) "there is something endearing about being forced to get inside and spend some quiet time at home"
    Yep my dearest, this weather is like a reality check for me too!

  4. Beautifully written, but don't live your life with regrets. You've made a lot of really awesome decisions in the past 10 years and you would never be the person you are today without every single experience you've had. Memory DOES play games with you and the past always looks more rosy in hindsight.

  5. Lovely. Sad. Poignant. Brave to put it out there. Hashem takes us each on the journey on which our souls need to go.