Monday, January 03, 2005

A New Year Ahead

Well, I guess 2005 is officially here. At my home, we ushered in the new year with aplomb -- lots of liquid spirits and exotic food, consumed by dozens of friends, all laughing gaily and bent on creating mischief. Actually, no... that scenario may have played itself out elsewhere, but not with us.

We didn't have quite that much excitement at our home. Here is what we did, chez nous, for New Year's Eve: Sometime during the afternoon, for our special evening meal, my wife picked up some Indian food for me and some Chinese food for herself. Later, when I left my office, I stopped at Domino's and picked up a pizza for my son.

That was our special New Year's Eve dinner. Each family member ate a different meal, then we all watched movies until midnight, then switched to television to watch some of the celebrations going on. That is the way it has been for years. In twenty-one years of marriage, we have gone out once on New Year's Eve, and that was to spend time with another couple at their home.

I think it is safe to say that we are not party people.

I think that our typical New Year's Eve is a metaphor for how we live our lives, generally. As in all families, the members of mine all have some things in common. We all like movies, for example. We are all a bit shy. We all have friends, but don't 'need' to be surrounded by people all the time.

Like most other families, we are also all quite different in many ways. For example, I like variety. My wife likes predictability. My son likes whatever his friends like. I could eat a different meal every day, never take a holiday in the same place twice and love to put myself in unfamiliar situations. My wife could cheerfully eat from a menu of four or five selections every day, vacation at Disney World every year and prefers situations where she can predict the outcome. My son's culinary preferences are fairly narrow, is pretty good about where we take holidays and otherwise, mostly likes to do whatever his friends are doing. Somehow, we manage to sort it all out and live our lives without driving each other completely crazy.

Is that what life is all about, compromising?

It must be, because in conversations I've had with many different people, the one thing that keeps on asserting itself is that everyone is different from another, sometimes markedly so. Life is so short that we can't all possibly do everything that we might wish to do, even if everyone had the financial resources to do so. So everyone 'makes do,' and somehow that is OK.

Or is it?

Here is one resolution I have made for 2005: I will try to do things just for me and no-one else. I will enjoy them. I will not feel guilty for taking the time to enjoy myself and for spending the money. I will encourage my wife to do the same. I want her to enjoy herself too, not just make sacrifices to keep everyone in the family happy. I want her to reward herself for all the hard work and the worry that my entrepreneurial nature has sometimes caused.

And what of my son? He is a great kid. He understands that sometimes Mommy and Daddy deserve a treat. Maybe he'll get a special treat too. I'm sure he will be able to think of something.

Yes, 2005 should be an interesting year. Now, where do we start?

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