Every year on January 1st my father, G.K. would sit down with his yellow legal tablet and calculate how much money he spent on booze, dogs, and guns. I think he must have been satisfied with the number, because he continued to spend his time and money on booze, dogs, and guns. That’s a good life, no?
His health went south in his late 60’s and he paid the price. He had a series of small strokes and ultimately died from a heart attack the day he was to enter the nursing home. It took about 10 years to die. That’s a long time. Comeuppance.
I remember the day he died- November 3, 1995. I was happy that he at least got to stick around to see the OJ Simpson verdict on October 3rd. He was watching the trial daily and I think he would have been irritated to miss the ending. I was in my 4th year of optometry school in Oregon- also addicted to watching the trial on CNN. It gave us something to talk about. It brought us closer. Isn’t that crazy?
Today, I did my own reckoning. I went back a few years to get a better idea of where I stand. Basically, I factored how much time and money I spent on doing things that were optional and gave me pleasure or made my life easier.
2019: Plane tickets (Florida, New Orleans, Las Vegas, North Carolina 2X, and a driving trip to St. Louis), gambling trip to Vegas, writing workshop. 2019 was a good year for me- both personal and business. Worked hard/played hard.
2020: Sauna, stressless recliner, grocery delivery. This was a hard and sad year for me. I was lonely and scared. I gained 9 pounds in 9 weeks when the office was closed. I had to stop baking. You can bake if you can give it away. No one person needs a lemon meringue pie. I’m still working on getting the weight off. Dammit.
2021: Doggie daycare, work/friend trip to Las Vegas, new technology. Stevie Nicks, the black lab puppy came into my life late 2020. She is a darling, and my best friend. I’m not lonely anymore. I had a trip before things went COVID crazy again and it was a mixed bag. Adding technology has made my life easier- both personally and professionally. Infrastructure is good.
This year is still up in the air- but I hope to manage a trip or two.
I love to travel. Sometimes, I go to favorite places that are familiar and remind me of good times. Sometimes, I go somewhere new. That is probably the most exciting and good for me because it requires me to try new things, be flexible in mind and body, and open to the possibilities of whatever comes my way. Traveling somewhere new is a good challenge. I’ve never been to Paris. It’s on my list- but not this year. A girl needs to be practical. A trip to the mountains is in the works- fingers crossed.
Vegas: Vegas for me is about relationships. I have two groups of friends whom I meet in Vegas. Both sets of friends are important to me. It’s an easy destination- and we all enjoy a good time. Short and sweet. One trip involves gambling, one does not. Vegas for me falls into the same category as G.K.’s booze, dogs, and guns. I do it for fun. I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink very much, I don’t bowl or play darts… it’s my only naughty thing. I think a person can have one naughty thing as long as it doesn’t make you go broke or land in prison. What happens in Vegas…I’m going to a slot tournament in February with the gambling girls. Wish us luck.
My third vice? Hmmm…. I am a bit stuck on that one. I used to golf- but I didn’t golf at all last year. I golfed every Friday for years. Usually followed by a fish fry dinner. When Mom died, so did my golfing and fish fry dinners. I love boating- but don’t own a boat. That puts me at the mercy of friends, ex-boyfriends, or family to take me out on the water. That can get tricky…for obvious reasons.
If I don’t have golf or boating- I don’t know what to do with myself. Who am I?
I might buy a riding lawn mower. I bought a house with a humongous yard. Last summer, I used my ancient push mower to get the job done. It was the talk of the neighborhood- they all thought I was crazy. One time, it was very hot. My neighbor squirted me with his hose because he thought I was in danger of having a stroke. It was slightly inappropriate considering what I was wearing… but we laughed, and I told him to squirt me again. I have good neighbors. I also have a good fence. Mom always said, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
I think I prefer reckonings over resolutions. It’s like the old saying, “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.”