Ramadan, the month long period of fasting and the holiest month in the Islamic religion ended about three weeks ago. The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur has just passed.

For the Christmas-ophiles, the Santa Claus and reindeer decorations are already on sale at Home Depot, and some people are already singing Christmas Carols. 

So it is safe to say that we are in the middle of the religious holiday season.

For the secular folks the ice rink is going up, and the first rain of the 2009/2010 STORMWATCH season is due momentarily.

This year has flown by on the one hand, and has been agonizingly slow on the other hand.

It looks like the economy is picking up. I’m seeing more people in my office, the mood of the country seems to be more positive and based on the Facebook status updates of several of my pals, there’s a lot more web designing, publishing and dog training going on than there was six months ago.

Which just confirms for me the old adage that tough times don’t last, tough people do. This year I held a great many hands of people who were going through rough periods.

And many people held my hand this year. The gratitude that I feel for that is immense.           

We’re lucky to live in a community that has such a wide range of diversity of people. Santa Monica is a beautiful mosaic of people who are professionals, doctors and lawyers, office workers, and manual laborers. We have graphic designers, and designers who are graphic.

The complexity, the diversity, the variety of life experience and views, is what has made this year tolerable for many of us. For me, I’ve had the experience of sharing my hopes and dreams, but more often my fears and terrors, with all sorts of people who were able to give me insight and direction, into how to hold out.

This has been the year that I wanted to just pack it all in, sell everything at a loss, put the dog in the car, and move to a remote jackalope ranch in Montana. There were times that I would be making plans on quitting this town, and then I’d be walking my dog on the boardwalk and I’d run into someone who might or might not know me, and we’d start chatting. And within a few minutes I’d remember why I live here, and why I love the people of Santa Monica.

It is through our shared experiences that we are able to gain greater strength. It is by opening ourselves up that we come together as a community in both hard times and good, to make it through.

That is why I am so happy to see the ice rink being put up again. It is one more place in our community where we can come together and share an experience that is wholesome and healthy.

I was giddy to see the tents again for Cirque du Soleil. I love the image of their blue and gold canvas, with the spiky tops showing up against the backdrop of the Santa Monica Pier. I was not so giddy, when I looked at ticket prices, however. I wanted to double date with my partner and his wife, but the seats I liked were $250 apiece. Maybe someone will donate some to me.

The fact that we have events like Cirque du Soleil, and options like the ice rink are wonderful reminders of how lucky we are to live here. Even if I don’t make it to the Cirque, it’s a great symbol which shows that we are a cultural center in Los Angeles.

The next few months are going to be a whirlwind of activity. There’s sure to be a lot going on in this city as the holidays continue to ramp up and I for one am very happy about that. The busier I am, the less time I have to worry and fret over things that aren’t likely to happen.

It’s been a rough year for many of us, but so long as we stay focused on the positive, we’ll make it through. At least that was the advice I received multiple times this year when I was walking my dog, and it seems to be working.


David Pisarra is a family law attorney focusing on father’s rights and men’s Issues in the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or (310) 664-9969.

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