Ah, New Year’s Day! After an evening of raucous celebration, I have awoken with a well-deserved and carefully constructed hangover.
Nope. Not true.
New Year’s Eve was a lovely dinner of prime rib for my wife, my daughter and myself – New York Strip for The Dude – coconut shrimp, crab cakes and stuffed mushrooms.
We sat around our little table at our little cabin next to our little lake with a little boat gathering snow and laughed and giggled and argued a bit over whether or not there were deeper meanings to Star Wars – and whether or not the most recent movie is or is not better than previous ones.
Stuffed with steak The Dude crashed early – The Daughter snuggled in to watch Psych re-runs on Netflix and my wife and I went and sat in the hot tub and chatted about life and the New Year.
Before long there was a quiet cabin as we all slept our way into the New Year.
I woke up this morning and looked about the same. I get older every night and it shows in the mirror.
The Dude, shockingly, slept in until about 7:45 and as I write this The Daughter and The Babe are sleeping (or, at least, still in bed!).
With my feet in front of our little gas stove at the cabin and with the sound of The Dude crunching cereal I have no New Year’s Resolution I’ve created or that I will struggle to honor.
With 52 years of life behind me and 48 years ahead of me I prefer to focus on goals and objectives that I hope will best define my 100 years on this planet.
I want my kids to continue to grow up to be kind, generous, gentle, inquisitive, funny, cranky and all the things my wife and I have come to appreciate from them. I am okay with the teenage angst of my 15-year-old son – I suspect there are many more versions of it in the years to come – but I find it a duty as a Dad to learn how to appreciate him for who he is and will become rather than control the outcome.
For those of you who know me the phrase “Control Freak” is an apt description. That I’ve learned to control the freak when it comes to the Dude would be an overstatement – I have, however, worked hard to contain it as often as possible. Some days I am more successful than others.
The 13-year-old Daughter is changing and growing before my eyes. She is larger than life every single day. I can tell she is teetering on the verge of being that challenging teenager all of my friends and family who have gone before me assure me is coming.
I would be lying if I said I am not sad to see her grow from that cheerful, good natured, laughing and smiling baby and toddler to a more complex, often cheerful, sometimes good natured and much laughing and smiling teenager.
But, I welcome that next phase in her life as I should – as a proud Dad who is simply amazed at the great blessing I have to be the father of these two extraordinary human beings.
The past year wasn’t a bad year. I learned a lot about a lot. I always consider that a good year.
There were challenges, to be sure, but I also have noticed that with my advancing age I am more content with the outcome of some things than I may have been before in my relative days of youth.
There are still fights to pick that should be picked. Still arguments to make that have to be made. And, with my work there are more families that need the mission and mercy of Spare Key.
Life is a great thing. Never easy. Never the same thing. But, it’s short. My 100 years on Earth will be over in the relative blink of an eye. I want those blinks to take longer and keep my eyes open more often.
I will run a couple of marathons this year. Continue my never-ending quest to do things in my 50s that I didn’t or couldn’t do in my 20s and 30s because I was polluting my body with smoking and a host of other bad life choices. I still plan on climbing a mountain – maybe this year – maybe next year.
There’s a couple of bike rides I want to do – trips I want to take – and things with my family I know we will devise along the way.
It may not be as exciting as curing a disease – solving the mystery of who was on the Grassy Knoll –lose 97 pounds – or a host of other amazing things that I know somebody somewhere in the world is going to do and accomplish.
More than anything else, though, I resolve to do what I have found I do best: Live.