As we turn the page to December 1st, marking the 335th day of the year (336th in leap years), it's undeniable that we're entering the final stretch of 2023. The countdown begins with 30 days left until we bid farewell to this year, a period filled with reflections, preparations, and, most significantly, a poignant remembrance.
Today, as a Pilates teacher, I find myself enveloped in the spirit of Christmas, a time synonymous with joy, celebration, and a reflective pause. It's a moment to look back at the year's journey, acknowledging both its triumphs and trials, and to lay the foundation for the aspirations and plans of the year ahead.
But December 1st also resonates with a deeper, more personal significance for me and many others. It marks World AIDS Day – a day dedicated to raising awareness about AIDS, remembering those we've lost to this devastating disease, and celebrating the strides made in treatment and prevention. The 1980s, a time I recall with a heavy heart, saw the artistic community, particularly in ballet, ravaged by AIDS. Working with the Houston Ballet then, I witnessed the unthinkable loss of young, vibrant talents – a harrowing memory that seems surreal yet remains vividly etched in my mind.
In those trying times, my role transcended teaching Pilates. I found myself in an AIDS hospice, guiding those in their final journey through Pilates, offering not just physical support but a sense of peace and dignity in their last days. Those experiences, laden with profound sorrow and resilience, have profoundly shaped my perspective on life and loss.
While we now live in an era where significant medical advancements have turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition, it's vital to remember and honour those who weren't as fortunate. As I decorate my Christmas tree, each ornament hung is a tribute to the friends, Pilates teachers, and countless souls who have left an indelible mark on our lives but are no longer with us.
As we step into December, I urge you, fellow Pilates teachers and friends, to embrace this time with a heart full of gratitude for the present and reverence for the past. Whether your Christmas tree is already twinkling or you're planning to set it up soon, let it be a symbol of hope, remembrance, and joy.
December 1st is indeed significant – a day that blends the anticipation of the festive season with a profound reflection on our collective journey. It's a day to celebrate life, remember the lessons of the past, and look forward to the future with hope and resilience.
As we move through this day, filled with mixed emotions, let's hold onto the positive spirit and cherish the memories of those we've loved and lost. Share with me when you plan to put up your Christmas tree, and let's make this a day of positive reflection and heartfelt remembrance.