By Alex Cohen
It has been a while since I took pen to paper (or fingers to keys), but I am back. This has been a year full of beginnings and endings, joy and sadness, births and deaths, drastic medical treatments and cancer of multiple family members. I am still grateful, grateful for all I still have, and all I can still do for those in need… friends, family and strangers alike.
Some milestones of this year:
My girls both did a semester abroad, one went to London and the other to Melbourne. I was so proud of their courage to go so far away from home, make new friends and travel all over the place while away, what a great adventure for both of them.
We elected a new President. My husband and I were invited to the Inauguration, and being present during the signing in – no matter how you feel about this current administration – is still a historical moment in time and I was proud to experience it at least once. The Inauguration party was another story; the riots, protests, street closures and cash bar took me over the edge, I was there half an hour before I left to grab dinner at a local restaurant with all the other frustrated party goers!
I saw one of my oldest friends when I went to visit her dying mother, whom I loved very much. My friend and I had a falling out many years ago and I was grateful she allowed me to come and spend some time with her mother for the last time before she passed. I was able to keep my promise of visiting her in her town of Merida; she was quite pleased I had not forgotten.
I became sick again and it turned out my immune system was letting me down; it was weakened from the Lyme disease and I needed to act quickly to reverse the damage. This took me to Germany to undergo a pretty radical treatment, after which I was in for a long recovery. But it worked and I finally feel more like myself than I have in over 8 years.
In June we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary at a romantic dinner, just me and my groom. We are the luckiest people alive because we have each other. For those of you who do not believe in true love or everlasting love, I am here to say it exists and we found it and we live it.
Our annual boat trip was just what the doctor ordered; I was able to rest and heal and spend quality time with my adult son whom I do not see as often as I would like. We got to know his girlfriend who lives in Europe and enjoyed spending time with her, she was so much fun.
The end of the summer was fast approaching and we were enjoying our newly renovated home out east. We spent every weekend out there with our “crew”, eating, drinking, playing tennis, swimming and just laughing our butts off. That was until we lost our very close friends to a terrible tragedy, they were gone suddenly and the summer was over. We spent our last weekend crying together and trying to come to grips with what just happened while also trying to celebrate the lives of our friends who brought us all such joy!
I went back to work in the fall and hosted a very successful Woman’s Leadership Summit in Hong Kong for the female employees of our Asia offices. It was great not only to meet them all, but to finally get them all together in one room. The speakers were so inspirational that I even got the nerve up to say a few words up at the podium.
We are now at the end of the year, holiday time. The holidays are not my favorite time of the year because it signifies the end of another year and reminds me that I am closer to being another year older (time flies when you are over 40). I realize that I barely got through half the things I said I would in the beginning of the year, and I never lost the 5 pounds I said I would – holiday eating is NO HELP! It also stresses me out with cards, gifts, decorations, dinners, parties and having to be cheerful all the time… Bah humbug…
I look forward to leaving this year behind and start anew; I am hoping my health continues to improve and I am able to make good of getting rid of those damn extra pounds. I want to be healthier because my husband says his goal in life is “to live longer than me,” so I need to make sure I am here until the bitter end… As Winnie the Pooh once said, “if you live to be 100 I hope I live to be 100 minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”
I wish you and your families the best holiday season and remember that no matter what happens to us in our lives, we are stronger than the pain, we deserve love, respect and happiness and we should never fear what our future holds, good or bad – we can handle it.