Sunday morning, I woke up in a hotel room in Dallas. I knew immediately where I was. Low-hanging cloud cover spread outside my window on the 24th floor, and even in the air-conditioned suite I could still feel the telltale heaviness of humidity permeating the atmosphere.
I tried to soak it in all I could... because, as I have on each visit back since I moved back to New Mexico in July 2007, I truly felt I was back home.
I don't fit Albuquerque well. I've always known that; at first I held that against the city, and its citizens. I'm mature enough now to realize we're simply not a good match for one another. I just don't function well in the Land of Manana. I much prefer a fast-paced environment and being surrounded by five million people.
While I certainly appreciate the beauty that New Mexico has to offer -- and acknowledge all the faults of a big city -- I still prefer concrete, freeways, and even traffic jams over the Sandia mountains. I wish I still lived in Dallas. Alas, I've also resigned myself to being back in Albuquerque for the foreseeable future, due to sheer necessity.
My family doesn't function very well when it's spread apart. Again, I also used to hold that against them... but today there's simply too little room for resentment to creep in. My parents are as loving, as supportive, and as gracious with what they have as anyone could ever ask for. They are worth the sacrifices I've had to make. Period.
I am also mindful of the sacrifices others have had to make, and the simple truth that it could be worse. Much as it was in December 2009, things still remain very difficult for a good many people. For all the talk of a rebounding economy, few I know have seen those signs yet.
And even those I know who don't fear where the next paycheck will come from are dealing with more personal losses. A good friend lost her mother to breast cancer earlier this year... and just last week, her brother died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. I wouldn't trade places with her... while also knowing all-too well the years ahead will bring similar tragedies for those close to me, due solely to the cruel passage of time.
But that time is, hopefully, far off... and today I chose to focus on the positives, and what I have to be thankful for this year. I still have my health, my heart, and my happiness. This year has also shown me that I have some wonderful, caring friends.
So, yeah, things could be better... but then again, how many people have flown to Scottsdale in a B-17 this year?