There’s just no getting around the fact that late November is always going to be a bumpy ride.
Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that sort of hits like a percussion blast. It’s going to be full of relatives or major cooking, or both, and the performance anxiety around those elements is always high. Then, usually within ten days, I’ve got a birthday, but I also have my wife’s birthday just before mine, and so there’s that. You don’t want to let either Thanksgiving or a birthday slip, but you also don’t want to let one cast a long shadow over the other.
This year I thought things would go smooth. The girls would be off to see their stepfather and my sweetie and I would escape to New Orleans. Even if we weren’t going to be home for our national food holiday that didn’t mean we wouldn’t eat in style. And eat we did. By last count I ate over a dozen different types of proteins in our short time on holiday, mammals and reptiles and crustaceans and bivalves. It was all good.
We got home and I thought I had the birthday sitch pretty much under control. We agreed to make our actual birthdays low-key and were very successful on that front. There was still some last-minute gift errands to run, but we came out the other side happy and we each got some pretty cool swag. (I now want to retake my vacation with my new camera!)
But what I thought I could avoid, what I was certain I was avoiding this year as a result of taking precautions and not stressing out, was getting sick. But I should know better by now. My birthday is some kind of beacon for illness to visit me. I am grateful it hasn’t been anything like in 2001 when I caught the full-on, thought-I-was-gonna-die, total-hallucinatory, where-did-the-last-three-days-go influenza, but like clockwork, come the 5th of December, something is on the illness horizon.
In the end, there’s this three-week period toward the end of the year where all my routines are thrown, where it takes just as much time to recover and get back in the swing of things… just in time for the end-of-year madness to mess with things. These are the days when I wish Thanksgiving would return to October (when the actual harvest celebrations that begat Thanksgiving originated), when I long for the days when the season was less complicated (and less commercially crass, if that ever was true).
The classic definition of madness, right? Expecting different results than reality will permit? Time to hitch up and regroup. Let’s see if I can turn this season into a pivot and make the next half-century not be a crazy backward mirror of the first.
Time to start plotting the