"Update" NYC

Love! Valour! Compassion!

We are at the point in the year where we are to reflect on the past year that we endured. Looking back at all our highs and lows and hoping that the year ahead is filled with nothing but promise, positive opportunities and great health. It’s always exciting to know we are about to be given a clean slate, a brand-new year to not only make a difference for ourselves but maybe make a difference for someone else.

Everyday before I leave my apartment, I mediate. I send my prayers out to my friends and family, I let the universe know how grateful I am for what has been given to me for I know, all too well, that it can be taken away in the blink of an eye. I work overtime to not take what I have for granted.

Last Monday, I woke up and checked my banking account. On my screen, the statement read: $0.33. I only had that much money in my checking account to last me for a week. It was no ones fault but my own because I’m terrible at balancing my checking account. At first, I was very hard on myself, but I quickly forgave myself. Because even though I’m a forty-year-old man that should have his life all in order there are times that I will fail at being an adult. However, I knew that five days later, I would get a paycheck, pay my bills and get right back on track. I also knew that there will most likely come a time again when my statement might read: $0.33. That’s going to be alright because I know that I do my best and I will be successful on certain days and not so successful on others. I had to show myself some compassion.

The next day, was very cold in the city. I felt like the weather fit my mood and as I was leaving my fancy, over priced gym that evening; I walked by a woman standing on the corner. She was only in a sweater and tights. What really broke my heart was that she had no socks or shoes on. I was six blocks away from my apartment when I walked past her, and she was asking for money. I literally had no money to give this woman but instead, I ran to my apartment as quickly as possibly could, grabbed a shopping bag and filled it with socks, a blanket and a jacket. I went back outside to the corner I found her on, but she was gone. I walked a few blocks up and down to see if she went to a different corner but I couldn’t find her. I walked a few more blocks toward my apartment still carrying the items I had for her when I saw someone fast asleep on the freezing sidewalk. I left the bag right next to person and walked away. I’m not sure if it helped that person but I can only hope that it did. I went to bed that night thinking how I might only have $0.33 in my account, but that stranger had nothing.

The rest of the week was challenging but I just knew that Friday would present itself before I knew it. True to form, Friday arrived and I was back on track. I was all set to see a concert that evening but a friend of mine sent me a text message saying he wanted to see me and that he was having a holiday party. I could’ve gone to the concert and went by his place afterwards, but something told me that I would have more fun being around love and friends than a concert. I was so happy that I went with my decision for I had such an amazing night surround by Love! Valour! And Compassion!

On Saturday, I might’ve had too much Love! Valour! And Compassion! For I did wake up with a slight hangover but there was too much to do before the holidays that I ran all my errands, saw a movie and met up with a friend of mine before calling it an early night. As we all know this time of year is so fun to be with everyone but takes a toll on the old liver.

Also, on that Saturday amid running errands, etc. I began messaging a guy from a dating app and that messaging quickly led to me giving him my phone number. Throughout the day, we were sending each other messages and when we both were talking about how busy your schedules were for the holidays, we agreed to squeeze in a few hours to meet the next day. I was looking forward to it. I kept thinking how it would be nice to end the year with a nice first date, but I knew that was a tall order to wish for. Ever the optimistic, I still threw a wish out into the universe asking for a pleasant first date.

Yesterday’s weather was disgusting. There was no other word to describe it. It was windy, cold and rain was coming down and wasn’t letting up for the entire day and night. I had so much to do for a Sunday. Gym, get ready, cram in some last-minute holiday shopping, a date and I also had a dinner with a friend scheduled after my date.

Half-way through the day, I knew that my friend would understand if we rescheduled our dinner for the weather was just not great and I had no idea if my date was going to go well or not. Thankfully, he understood and that was one thing I didn’t have to stress about.

After the gym, after getting ready for my date, it was time to do some shopping. One of the items I bought, was actually for myself and it was a candle (this candle will come into play here very soon). Finally, it was time for my date. We agreed to meet at five since at the time, I didn’t know if I was going to reschedule dinner with my friend or not.

I picked a bar for us to meet at in Union Square since I also thought that the dinner I was to have with my friend, was in that area (anybody that knows me, knows that I’m terrible with directions and maps. Turns out, my dinner was in the West Village not in Union Square). I get off the subway with my shopping bags and there’s a text from my date saying, “The bar you picked doesn’t open till six.” OK. I didn’t think a bar would be closed at five, but I saw my date waiting in the rain in front of the closed bar. I introduced myself and apologized for picking a place that was closed and for him waiting in the rain. I knew of a bar a few blocks away and we walked to a place called, Barn Joo.

I wasn’t in this establishment for more than five minutes when I dropped my shopping bags on the ground and shattered the glass that held my candle in. My date just sat and watched me with the staff to make sure that there was no glass anywhere for the patrons to accidentally step on. Finally, it was my turn to sit down at the bar. I sat down and told him that it was nice to meet him and all he said was, “Your hand is bleeding.” I looked at the top of my hand and there was a cut and I was in fact…bleeding. No idea how I got the cut since the staff at the bar wouldn’t let me near the broken glass. So, I sat at the bar with a napkin covering my bleeding hand. I wasn’t bleeding all over the place, but it also wasn’t an attractive look.

After that, he and both compared stories of broken bones (I had more than him) and all the crazy things that we did as kids. Over the course of two glasses of wine, I learned that he’s a kindergarten teacher for a school in the Weest Village. I mentioned that I volunteer with a program for under privileged kids and he was aware of the program. He loves to travel, is divorced from his ex-husband and has thirteen tattoos. We both laughed a lot, I was extremely comfortable around him and toward the end of the date as we were finalizing the bill, we agreed to see each other this Tuesday right after work because we both have parties afterwards to attend to and after that we aren’t free till next year after the holidays.

He walked me to the corner of fourteenth street and kissed me. It was in the most dramatic way with the rain, us under an umbrella and I really liked the way he kissed. He went onto run errands for his kids’ school program and I went home. He sent a text message a few hours later saying he had a great time and was looking forward to this Tuesday. I replied that the feeling was mutual.

Another year is ending, and another is about to begin. No one can predict what our future is going to unfold for us. What I do wish for everyone is that they never stop showing love, never stop showing their valour and above all else; never ever stop being compassionate to yourselves, to your loved ones and strangers.

I leave this last blog for the year with a quote from a French idealist philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

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