New Year’s Resolutions (aka Lessons Learned)

Gratefully, I, along with my husband, close friends and family, are looking forward to the beginnings of another year. I have never felt that going from December 31 to January 1 resulted in a magical transition from one year to the other recollecting the year’s good times with fond memories while the unpleasant events are relegated to the category of lessons learned, not to do again. So rather than create a list of resolutions for 2018 which may result in failed attempts to reconcile my unpleasant reflections, I am creating a list of things I will never do again or intent to do differently:

  • I will never again go to a mass appeal concert that opens with a start up band that I couldn’t care less about particularly if it is outdoors. One would think that having gone to the 1969 Woodstock, I would have learned then and there that the hype was bigger than the event. As icon as that concert was, it was a weekend of pouring rain, very cold (even in August) nights and no showers (I can’t swim so skinny dipping was out).

In October, my husband and I went to the Formula 1 Race in Austin. After the Saturday race, Justin Timberlake was scheduled to appear. Everyone who attended the race was admitted to the concert however it was all standing room. We paid extra to stand close to the stage. And I do mean stand.

After being on our feet for 3 1/2 hours, shoulder to shoulder in a mass of people in the heat I realized that no one was worth this amount of discomfort. Just before the infamous JT made his appearance, a poor heat struck girl standing behind us passed out and when the medics came to remove her, we followed.

  • As Frank sang, “Regrets, I have a few”. Like throwing out things that are in good condition and expensive to replace thinking “I’ll never use this again”. It is understandable that after spending weeks packing to our new downsized home, it just seemed easier and sensible to toss items out with the thought that I would never use them again (i.e. skis, small items of furniture and tableware I would use for large parties thinking I won’t be entertaining like that again – wrong). Temptation, or just being lazy, got the better of me and now I am spending too much time and money on their replacements.
  • Taking an exercise class where I was the only student with an instructor who was much younger and more agile and let me know it. I hobbled out of the class and cancelled my membership.
  • Buying my husband a blood pressure monitor as a stocking stuffer. He didn’t find it amusing or in good taste. As a matter of fact, he said, “I don’t want it” and compared it to getting me a vacuum as a gift. Next time, I’ll just get him the car part he hinted at wanting.

So the Holidays are over and I am happy to say, it is never to late to learn how life can be improved and how things that seemed like a good idea at one point be not necessarily smart after all. Lessons learned.

Happy New Year to all!

 

City of Two Sides

There is nothing that says the Holidays like New York City especially at night. The glitter of Christmas sparkles in the department store windows turning every adult into a kid again. The white lights wrapped around bare tree branches all over town complement the colored lights of the Rock Center tree. No city speaks Christmas as New York does and it is worth spending a couple of nights to take full advantage of what can be.

After years of “going-to-work-getting-on-the-bus-coming-home”, retirement has afforded us the time to venture to unknown boroughs to see more of the beauty of Christmas outside Rock Center. This year, I found something off the beaten track and dragged everyone to Dyker Heights in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. It is an residential neighborhood where each house is decorated in over-the-top Christmas lights that make you wonder who lives there and how much their electric bill is. I am taking a wild guess that the inhabitants are Italian and maybe connected (wink, wink).¬†Traveling in a crowded D train plagued with delays and redirections was an effort yet worth it. This square mile of lighted homes all seeming to try to outdo each other was spectacular. I’m grateful to these people for thinking so much of Christmas to do this and for being part of New York.

This was the first time we stayed in a hotel on the upper west side but it offered an opportunity to explore areas around Central Park. Wollman Rink who I have to credit “The Donald” who in 1986 stepped in to lead the renovation of the dilapidated rink¬†allowing it to join the icons of New York tourism.

Yet there was a time when the city was unsafe as when we looked at the vestibule of the Dakota apartment building where on December 8, 1980, John Lennon was assassinated. There were pockets of unsafe places where high rise luxury apartments now exist. It was a time where it was considered foolhardy to walk through any of the green spaces especially at night and ones nicknamed Needle Park. 42nd Street was dictated by drug dealers, hookers and porno shops. And the subways were spray painted with bizarre graffiti and inhabited by homeless. With all that, we mourned the passing of our beloved Beatle and moved on.

The city recovered and it improved. Strawberry Fields was built, the parks and subways were cleaned up and 42nd Street became safe. Last week, Fifth Avenue was glittered up with the Swarovski crystal star hanging near Tiffany’s and the windows of Saks displayed a stunning re-enactment of the Snow White story compete with animated dwarfs.

Then on Monday, a pipe bomb went off at the Port Authority sending scores of people into a panic. Fortunately, the idiot who set it off was the only one hurt. The next day or maybe within hours, it was business as usual. Speeches by the mayor and governor boasted the resilience of New Yorkers claiming these citizens will not be deterred from their daily lives. That is true and has been tested time and time again.

I had a plan to meet my cousin in the meatpacking district where she lives for dinner on Saturday. Once again, I am moving on.