Wow, hard to believe 2012 is winding down, huh? Time sure flies, and seems to fly faster every year. Remember as a child when an hour seemed soooo loooong (especially if you’re doing something you don’t like) and summer vacation lasted forever? Now you blink and days and months have rushed by. I’ve actually heard a theory as to why that is back when I was in college that makes a lot of sense. When you’re a child, each unit of time represents a much larger percentage of your experience than you do as you get older. When you’re 10 years old, a year is 1/10th of your total experience, 10%. When you’re 25 a year is 1/25th or 4% of your total experience. At 50 a year is 1/50th or 2% of your total experience.
I think the morale of that story is, as you get older, you really should make the most of the time you have, dedicate as much as you can to the things that make you happy. Your passions, your family, your friends. And for God’s sake, don’t waste time!
That said, I spent a lot of time recently doing not much of anything. Some of you who read my blog know I work a ton– I’ve got a full-time job, and a part-time job that I work quite a bit, and a regular weekly gig writing about a hobby I enjoy. In the days leading up to Christmas I had off from my full-time job, but worked a bunch of extra hours at my part-time job– 44 hours in 4 days. And then, from December 26th through Dec 30th… I had no work at all. Not my full-time job, not my part-time job (though I did still do my weekly writing gig, but I love doing that so it really doesn’t feel much like work). Five blessed days off work… why, it’s rather unheard for me in my modern era! I’d had hopes to visit family, get organized, clean house, run errands… and while I did do some of that, for the most part I just chilled out alone, caught up on sleep, watched some movies, played some games. Didn’t follow any schedule, didn’t set any alarms.
It was wonderful!
I did keep an extra eye on myself. This year has been a hard one– three major deaths in my family between July and October really rocked my world. Part of me kept watch and mentally checked in with myself to make sure I wasn’t getting too down or depressed… but while I have been feeling a little bit blue — missing those we lost, particularly during the holidays — it hasn’t been weighing heavy on me. This time off, with lots of downtime, feels like a recharge, a reset of sorts. 2012 has been a tough year on balance, but there have been some positive developments that have me going into 2013 feeling much more optimistic and much less stressed. My challenge for the new year is to build on those developments and positive momentum…
First step though was to get through New Year’s Eve. I have to say I was a little apprehensive about New Year’s Eve this year. For years and years New Year’s Eve was a great celebration with family when I was younger, and friends when I got older. For a number of years my ex and I held New Year’s Eve celebrations that were legendary, packed wall to wall with good friends, good food and good libations. Once our kids came along we had to curb that sort of thing, but we still would celebrate and make it special, just the two of us… until things between us soured.
The past few New Year’s Eves I’ve just gone home and chilled out, and was fine with it. This year… this year though I really didn’t want to be alone. I’m working my part-time job in the evening so I couldn’t plan festivities at my own house, but I get off in time to go somewhere. I put the word out to friends, letting them know… hey, if anything’s going on, I’d love to be invited! The only reply I got was one friend letting me know he was going to be out of town.
It’s strange, but one of the most difficult parts of adjusting to new life as a single dad is the struggle to be thought of as a single dad. To reprogram friends into realizing that, hey– I’m someone who can hang out, go do stuff, be social with, as opposed to my old role as “married with kids and no free time at all.” A big goal I had for 2012 is to curtail my work hours to the point where I could be social, and I’ve done that– but now I realize that that’s only half the battle. Yes, I’ve had time to do stuff… but finding someone to do it with has been tough. Trying to reprogram old friendships or finding new ones… they never tell you how fucking hard that is in the Post-Divorce Middle-Aged Single-Dad Handbook!
So I had the small part of my heart feeling blue missing my lost family members during the holidays, and I was also starting to feel a little blue that none of my friends were going to invite me to any New Year’s Eve festivities and I was going to ring in the new year alone, and that was starting to make me feel pretty shitty…
But then a couple days ago I got invited to a party!
I have to say it’s not necessarily the ideal situation– the woman I’ve written about a few times here before (The Housewarming/Birthday Party and The balm that healed my heart-sick soul), she and her boyfriend are having it at their home and she invited me to come out.
Since we’re both post-divorce with children, there had been a part of me that had hopes that we could reconnect or rekindle something once we found each other again after so many years have passed. But she’s got a good thing going with her man, and I certainly don’t want to do anything to spoil that.
So yes… it’s gonna be a little bit tough hanging out in their home and not risk feeling even lonelier… but at the same time, she’s a sweetheart who really does care for me as a friend, and her beau is a nice guy, and who knows who I might meet at the party? I’m pretty good at taking a troublesome emotion, putting it away in a little box on the shelf for the greater good and just have some fun. I think it’s worth the risk, don’t you? I have such high hopes for 2013 being a good year for me, I want to ring it in right!
I certainly hope you all will have a good — and safe — time tonight, and that 2013 is good for you. Thank you so much for reading me in 2012, and I hope you will follow my adventures as they continue into the new year!