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Moving On

December 29, 2015

New Years has a funny effect on us humans. We get all nostalgic, hopeful for the future and emotional. Okay, maybe the Holiday parties with lots of alcohol have something to do with that, but it's also our nature to look back at the year that was, and dream about what the new year will bring. After all, who doesn't want the coming year to rock, so of course we're going to start it off with high hopes.

This year I have really high hopes. I guess that's because 2015 was one of the best years I've had in a long time. I made some major improvements in my life, including moving out of New York City, a desperately needed change. Although life isn't perfect (whose is?) it's pretty damn close. The move brought me so many of the things I was in such dire need for. Fresh air for one. And space, lots of space. Moving from a tiny one-bedroom apartment where my fire escape was my backyard, to a house with a big yard and woods to wander around in, has been life changing.

There are beautiful places to meditate and to walk. In the summer, I can sit out on the deck and get some sun, and in the fall, the leaves changing is a magnificent site. I have big windows to watch the snow fall in the winter (and here in upstate NY, it SNOWS). Behind the house, the falling snow does this incredible mesmerizing, spiraling dance thanks to the open field near by. When the snow finally does melt, it gives way to the spring where my world becomes this magical land of rebirth. Last Spring, I got to watch and hear the saga of the Downey Woodpeckers, Mr. and Mrs. Peck and the little Peckers, unfold in the tree outside my deck and view the ever changing landscape of wild flowers growing rampant around the yard.

Since moving, I meditate more. I write more. My work is better. My health is better. My stress level is much lower. I'm more in love with my wonderful husband than ever. We laugh more -- a lot more. I'm learning new things. Life is good.

Along with all the good stuff, there was one heartbreak for me this year. In February, I lost someone very close to me. Hassan was a brother to me. He had been a constant in my life and 'family' to me for the past 15 years. Tall, dark and with a large frame, people's first reaction to Hassan could usually be described as fearful. As soon as he opened his mouth, people would visibly relax. His warm, jubilant personality was contagious. It was hard to walk away from him without a smile on your face. Everyone liked Hassan.

He had his issues. He was in and out of jail and drug programs pretty consistently over the years, but he always came home to us, trying to get his life together, never giving up. He took care of my animals. He took care of me when I was sick. He made me laugh. For many years, he was the one I turned to to make me smile. He made things ok. He called me Lady Gibbs (Gibbs being my maiden name). I called him my brother. I miss him.

What do I want for 2016? Well, I gave up making New Years resolutions a long time ago. Immediate, on the spot change, is not very realistic for me. My history with New Years resolutions is, well pretty pathetic. ‘No more cursing' usually went out the window on the way home from where ever I was New Years eve. 'Quit smoking' always failed miserably (although this is the year for sure). A few years ago, after reading a New Years resolution email generated from an app that delivered your email the following New Years, I realized I hadn't accomplished any of my lists a full 365 days later. With that, New Years resolutions died a sad but long overdue death.

This year, although I do have some specific goals, my hope for 2016 is to be healthy and happy and that everyone I care about experiences the same. To you, yes you reading this, I hope you have a fantastic year and you find or move forward on the road you wish to be on. Happy New Year!

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Jeannie Wraight

Jeannie Wraight

Jeannie Wraight (known as Jeannie Gibbs before her marriage in April 2011!) has been an AIDS treatment activist for over 14 years. She was a longtime member of ACT UP New York and has participated in countless demonstrations and actions. She has attended over 75 HIV conferences around the world and writes for several HIV publications. Ms. Wraight has sat on many advisory boards as well as the Board of Directors of Health People, an AIDS service organization in the South Bronx, New York. She lives with her partner in the Bronx, where she works on her Web site and advocates for novel HIV therapies and nutritional supplements for people with HIV/AIDS. She is also an animal rescuer.

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