A Publication of WTVP

As I reflected on the past year and began writing down goals for 2008, I couldn’t help but shake my head a bit. The best-laid plans, as we know, can be destroyed in a nanosecond. By the same token, opportunities can present themselves from the most surprising sources. And a moment’s decision can change the course of life forever.

Last month, the untimely death of a friend caused me to again re-evaluate my life’s habits and goals. Phuong (Le) Ngo, owner of Beyond Nails, was a beautiful, gracious woman and a very hard worker. She told her remarkable story of fleeing Communist rule—with 14 family members—in the January 2005 issue of this magazine (available online at

The goal of starting her own business became a dream fulfilled, and, in her own words, “another reason to celebrate the decision to come to the U.S…Imagine coming from a war-torn country where you didn’t have much, and now you’re in a place with freedom and endless potential.” Ngo was very attentive to the quality, service and atmosphere at her business, and her story is very humbling to me. Thank you, Le, for making the journey.

This past year I watched as several girlfriends blossomed with happiness and love in new relationships. With some life experience behind them in the world of business, marriage and children, these women are hoping to find their soul mates and companions. Starting over is much more complicated, as today’s decisions have such a ripple effect on previous life choices. If an independent identity has become comfortable, becoming half of a couple again can be frightening. Add children to the mix, plus hormonal changes at mid-life and a bit of financial insecurity, and that bliss can be short-lived.

I’ve talked with friends who were presented with life-changing opportunities in this last year. A relocation due to a spouse’s career, the potential buyout of one’s business, unforeseen family events and serious health issues require decisions wrung from heart-wrenching contemplation. Of course, there are no easy answers.

The complexities of the global economy, climate change, crises in energy and healthcare, mortgage foreclosures and rising costs from child care to college are just a handful of the overwhelming issues we face today. I’ve had conversations with women who feel as if they are facing the same uncertainties as a young college graduate. Thirty years later, the choices seem even more confusing. Perhaps that’s the heart of the matter. Time has a way of healing, but it also increases our anxieties and expectations.

We all want to leave the world a better place, to make a positive difference in the world. If we are honest with ourselves, we all question if we’ve made the right decisions and will make the right ones in the future. But to acknowledge opportunity, learning and growth, and to take a chance on experience is far better than to not have tried.

Ah, but the uncertainties still keep me up at night. Cheers to a successful 2008! TPW