A long while after trudging in feeling all fresh and unadulterated, smelling like that new shoe bought (not from a mitumba dealer – please! – but) from the Chinese -, Turkish -, or Dubai – stocking footwear dealer, the shoes therefore having never known the feel, the (foul) odor, the contour or the sweatiness of any other feet; after giving us reasons to hope anew and refresh our dreams; after giving those of us who are into making New Year resolutions a chance to reflect upon the parts of our lives that need redirection and allowing us to go right ahead and make fervent resolutions to that end; long after the freshness and novelty had worn off, as is wont to happen to everything new – just like that relationship that starts on a high note with text messages traversing networks too frequently and the slightest of chance is grabbed for lips to lock and no offense is taken when there happens to be a slip of the tongue; after the dwindling of resolutions that is akin to the dwindling of texts and phone calls in aging relationships; long after dreams became more and more achievable and we had to keep stretching them to see just how far from our reach they could get (you know, because we like challenges…); after hope became frustration; after dreams turned into nightmares; after said hope further transformed into hopelessness; after hard work that comprised of enduring boring lectures, sitting through tough exams and tolerating bossy egoistic lecturers eventually bore fruit to allow us a chance at the graduation square (hey there Graduate!); after discomforting, tiresome, puke-inducing, temper-flaring pregnancies produced adorable newborns; long after bad marriages ended in divorce and a grim-looking future of misery gave us that tunnel lighting in the end; after (painstaking) dating progressed into (romantic) engagements and into marriages (or if we are to be realistic, some into serious friend-zoning); after frequent sex with our boyfriends led into some ‘oops’ moments which in turn resulted in the visibility of a clear double line on the sticks we peed on; after making the pro-life (or pro-choice) decision – your choice entirely; long after the fights, the breakups, the heartbreaks, the mediations and the makeups; after that life-threatening rush to the emergency room and sitting through hospital waiting rooms in nail-biting anxiety as we awaited diagnoses; after the doctor broke the bad news (or the good news); after a new lease was extended our way by life itself; after the second chances; after the deaths, the excruciating feelings of loss during funerals and thereafter; after depression had us seeking comfort in our beds, in food, in drinks (we’d promised never to touch), in unending chores (that we hate); after depression had us seeking out our (nonexistent) wild side; after the very same depression left us in tears as we felt our hearts tighten and squeeze and lurch forward in unbearable pain; after depression left us with feelings of fear, inadequacy and emptiness – after that depression; after pain took over and had us do stupid things in an attempt to numb it all; after trying all we could not to numb our joy together with our pain and quickly discovering that that was an exercise in futility – that numbing the bad would also numb the good in us; after friends turned to enemies and our enemies became our friends and after new friendships were forged all together; after nervous first-time encounters went (unexpectedly) well while others had us avoiding each other like the plague; after jobs were lost, other jobs found as more jobs were thrown to the curb; after promising business deals bore fruit while others turned out so bad that we determinedly banished the memory of their existence ever; after court cases were lost and others won; after justice was granted where it had been denied and denial persisted where justice continued to be sought; after our politicians insisted on wearing the crown for being our main, sole and only oppressors; after the people we thought we knew became strangers to us; after the various falls, the letdowns, the unyielding get-ups; after the storms in our lives seemed permanent and endless (unlike El-Niño that was almost a no-show); after the exhilarating thrills that we could have sworn promised to last, but didn’t (do they ever?); after the problems that we willed to leave us alone refused to let go of our hems while some (to our relief) ‘poof!’ and disappeared never to come back again; after trying to define why we do the things we do (and boy, did I try to do this!) and finding that seeking answers will never cure our desire to keep doing it anyway; after making discoveries: writing is an addiction that has me by the guts and a disconnection between us will only result in my disembowelment; after taking a break from posting on this blog and realizing during the break that I need this (and you) like a junkie needs a drug; after making promises to know better, do better, be better; after breaking each and every one of those promises; after feeling jaded by the year that was now old and unexciting; after wishing that 2015 would end already, or enjoying it too much and wishing it never comes to an end (too bad?); after every single thing that 2015 had in store for us coming to pass, we now get to put it all behind us and start over again in a new year that I hope will be the best one yet for you – the year 2016.