Another Christmas vacation has gone by, another family gathering with siblings and families has happened, this time in Florida. It was during this occasion that the fact that I was the oldest person in the group hit me a little harder than I expected. Maybe it was something that somebody said, or something that I noticed in the mirror. Seniority was not something that I had paid much attention to in past years. But this year something led to a moment of contemplation on the subject. Perhaps the age threshold that one had reached in September was not as much of a artificial artifact as one tended to consider it. Many of us are getting along in years, and there are consequences. For some, it happens so slowly that you do not realize it is happening, and then, suddenly, BAM!, there it is! You take notice of how much you have changed since you last checked – perhaps when you were a youth. You can no longer play the pretender. Your mind catches up with your body.
And at this point in life, after having achieved seniority of the senses, and after many other such Christmas vacations with family, I am in such a state of mind that I am there simply to enjoy the company of the family. I have not planned to do much other than relax. I do not need any additional “entertainment”. I just need the time to chill out. If people plan something that interests me, I can participate. The others in our group all have it all under control. I only needed to keep an eye on the liquid refreshment.I was prepared to help where needed, but there hardly seemed to be any need for that. I did cook dinner one evening. If somebody had asked, I would have cooked again without feeling any pressure about it. Heck, if there was not a list of dinners generated ahead of time, I could have even volunteered once again.
I want to keep it simple these days. I just wanted to be able to lounge around, and to be able to do my daily exercise, a routine that I am having great difficulty keeping up with recently. The over 40 miles of walking and running that I accomplished during the holiday, some of it even under rainy conditions, was worth it. I could have spent more time with the others on the beach, but I chose to be lazy, and, as a result, perhaps also a little anti-social. Its OK, the old man needs his nap time and rest to recover from his exercise routine.
I did catch a sunrise,but missed all the sunsets. The pool at the back of the house provided the opportunity to chill out. We listened to music. We even listened to the changing sounds and rhythms emanating from the starlings sitting on the tree beside the pool.(This recording is from Youtube.)
We enjoyed our time playing with the young’uns. The laughter that results from all involved is pure innocence. The older kids have all grown up. There seems to be a deeper sense to togetherness. It must be encouraged. Hopefully we can continue to meet during our Christmases so that they continue to get the opportunity to further bond and support each other. We celebrated Christmas as usual. We celebrated the usual birthdays. We went to the usual services at church.
Games were played and dinners were consumed.There was the trivia competition (where I was reminded that the number 1 is not a prime number!). There was the gingerbread making session where the sampling process that was going on as the dough was being prepared had me concerned. The baking process took care of my concerns.
We went out to a restaurant for dinner only once this year, there being no undue pressure from anybody, or on anybody, (from what I could see) to have to do so. I think most were content to hang out at home and on the beach. Perhaps we might even skip eating out the next time and still be happy as a group.On the other hand, it can truthfully be stated that the cooking efforts at home resulted in top-notch dinner fare and many original culinary masterpieces that everybody enjoyed. Yum!
The family gathering happens these days without my having to do much. The old man is just along for the ride.