At 8 a.m. EST, people in Sydney, Australia, rang in the new year amid balmy temps as I gingerly wiped my eyes and crawled out of bed. Snow started to flurry outside my window in heavy flakes, and what did I want to do? Grab my camera and shoot. What a beautifully enchanting sight.
OK, back to reality. Twilight Zone marathon is in high gear on Syfy channel, the plethora of cheeky news shows have a lot to say about the year in review, the decade in retrospect, life in general with each minute leading up to Times Square’s official countdown. Like so many around the world, I’m in a pensive mood after a fair share of personal loss and gains throughout 2009.
News of a botched Christmas terror attempt and growing political unrest/unease joins a dizzying blur of memories I’ll have about the past year. It began on a festive, high note as my friends and I ushered in 2009 with a surreal, wall-to-wall aluminum-foiled party in homage to Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory and his notorious Superstars. Crazy never made so much sense as we christened ourselves P4TC (Party for the Clubless) and celebrated unabashed love and devotion to art, music, nightlife, friendship and the underground. Nothing as elaborate planned this New Year’s Eve, but I’m cherishing those memories and my peeps: Ken, Bret, Loretta, Roger, Carlitos, Yuri, Chad … and the rest of us househeads around the mundo.
In no way could I have predicted the course of this year, though. Dismal unemployment stats amid a recession; billion-dollar bailouts and economic free-falls; abrasive health care rallies; the world watching in suspended disbelief on reports of Michael Jackson’s death; a “wise Latina” and Nuyorican, Sonia Sotomayor, nominated and seated on the U.S. Supreme Court; tragedy at Fort Hood; the ballad of Rihanna and Chris Brown (pay attention to the signs); Lady Gaga’s rise to “fame” and Kanye’s preaching over Taylor about Beyoncé; Octomom and Balloon Boy and Jon and Kate’s take on “reality.” Facebook, Twitter and social networking’s world domination. Enough already!
I have to admit Tiger’s hot mess somehow eclipsed other adulterous politicians and late night David Letterman’s drama. Who’d guess Oprah and Tyra would announce plans to opt out as talk show hosts. And, what a loss of luminaries like 107-year-old Ann Nixon Cooper, Ted Kennedy, Walter Cronkite, Percy Sutton, Mary Allen (an unsung hero in Harlem, John Hope Franklin, Les Paul, Helen Levitt, Merce Cunningham, Farrah Fawcett, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Ed McMahon, Ricardo Montalban, Bea Arthur, Patrick Swayze, Natasha Richardson, Jack Kemp, Frank McCourt, David Carradine, Dom DeLuise, Paul Harvey (“… the rest of the story”) and the hundreds of people fighting wars in their homelands and abroad.
I’d like to think that with any challenge comes growth and insight. Ten years ago, I was a very different person whose core beliefs somehow remain solid to date. I still have an uncanny ability to resurrect a sense of dark humor when needed. My resilience hasn’t lost its bounce even though some of my joints have. I still love to dance and cook and laugh out loud when the mood hits me, and I respect life despite all the craziness threatening to negate what’s good in the world.
I recall sitting at my news desk last January and watching with pride and a few tears running down my cheek as the U.S. welcomed its first black president, Barack Obama, during his inauguration. A few days before that historic moment, nothing short of a miracle unfolded in front my office window as a jet landed safely on the frigid Hudson River.
By year’s end, I find myself facing overwhelming debt, waves of anger and remorse, a daunting quest to figure out what’s next for this journalist who lost a job that defined much of her adult life. Oddly enough, the future seems full of possibilities as it did when I first accepted an offer to join The Associated Press in its Atlanta bureau. Today, looking back while sitting at my laptop in New York City, the simple truth points to having faith in the unknown _ everything in divine order. Gotta take the good with the bad and keep it moving.