Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Year - the Same, Only Different

Another year over, a new one just begun, as John Lennon sang. 

I can’t believe 12 months have, yet again, flown by; and yet, looking back and seeing what I’ve managed to fit in, the year seems to have been very slow and long. That’s one of the contradictions of time: feeling versus fact.
   
It was a year that saw me spend most of my time in New York, where I had always wanted to live. Before I moved to LA, it had been a toss-up between the two places. LA won over because of its concentration on the TV and film industries, but I saw that gradually dwindle as producers and stars took the financial opportunities offered elsewhere (not least, in Canada) to move filming. Even New York has benefited from the LA exodus.
   
I have loved the move. It is much easier to make friends in New York, and Manhattan is beautiful. I love the architecture, the pure blue skies between buildings, sunsets over the Hudson. And, as a single older woman, I do not feel, as I am often made to do in the UK, on the scrapheap of life. Everywhere I go, there are dozens of women at ease with themselves sitting alone, often working, and, unlike most of the ones I saw out and about in smart places in LA, they are not on the game.
   
This year saw my finances shrink considerably, for reasons I have already detailed, but I learned the value of friendship in the support I received and many offers of practical help, as well as emotional. I have faith that it will change (although not necessarily in my lifetime!). But it’s tough for most people out there at the moment; I learned that I was not alone.
   
It was a great year for law on TV, with Law and Order: SVU, The Good Wife and Suits being the highlights of my viewing schedule. It was also a traumatic year for law when Judge Alex came off the TV, thereby ruining not only my lunchtime schedule of pasta, red wine and hot guy, but the handcuff fantasies I had enjoyed for so many years. Judge Judy just doesn’t do it for me in the same way.
   
Like anyone’s year, mine featured the usual run of births, marriages and deaths – although I didn’t give birth, avoided marriage (not hard in New York) and didn’t die, which always has to be a bonus.
   
And so, to 2015. I wish my friends and family a happy, prosperous, safe New Year. We’ll have laughter, we’ll have tears, but remember, in the words of the song Smile: when there are clouds in the sky, we’ll get by. The rain will fall (as the Bee Gees sang), but the sun always rises.
   
Here, then, are my thoughts looking back at 2014, and those for 2015. 
   
20 THINGS I LEARNED IN 2014

1.       Money doesn’t grow on trees.
2.       Being closer to 60 is much scarier than being closer to 50.
3.       Almost everyone I know is dead.
4.       New York DOES sleep – between 4am and 6am, goddammit.
5.       There are way more people worse off than myself than I had realised.
6.       There is always a Macy’s sale on. No need to rush for that bargain.
7.       I would be lost without my circle of wonderful friends.
8.       Every man in New York is gay.
9.       When you grow your hair, lesbians stop trying to pick you up.
10.    They are making episodes of Law and Order SVU at a faster rate than I can watch them.
11.    The NoNo does not remove facial hair; it is nothing more than an electric chair for the face.
12.    Suits, Law and Order: SVU, and The Good Wife are the best programmes on TV.
13.    I should have been a lawyer.
14.    I would not be safe carrying a gun.
15.    One should never be too proud or ashamed to ask for help, either financial or emotional.
16.    Bricks and mortar are meaningless compared to people.
17.    Britain and America really are two countries separated by the same language.
18.    You have to run very fast to stand still in rip-off Britain.
19.    I will never marry George Clooney.
20.    The only thing that explains my lifestyle is that I am, unbeknown to me, working for the CIA.

AND 20 THINGS I’M GOING TO CHANGE IN 2015

1.       Become a CIA agent – WikiHow has told me how to do it.
2.       Make buying toilet rolls a priority.
3.       Find a straight man in New York.
4.       Get therapy for my addiction to Law and Order: SVU.
5.       Spend less time on Twitter and Facebook.
6.       Write my way out of my financial mess (I doubt my CIA salary alone will get me out of it).
7.       See more of my friends.
8.       Exercise more (yeah, right).
9.       Refresh my French and learn Spanish.
10.    Learn Mandarin. China is apparently the future.
11.    Consume more Chinese food when the Mandarin is going nowhere.
12.    Have at least one day without reading about a Kardashian.
13.    Smile though my heart is aching, smile when my heart is breaking . . . There may be a song in that.
14.    Stop checking online in the hope that people who tortured me in my youth have become fat and unhappy.
15.    Stop stalking federal judges (yeah, right again).
16.    Get that Green Card application in (maybe the CIA will give me one automatically? Did I mention my new job?).
17.    Stop hoping that a UK rugby team will win the 2015 World Cup. They won’t.
18.    Seriously start to consider plastic surgery.
19.    Try to live in one residence for the whole year.
20.    Write a best selling book about my work with the CIA.

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