I’m normally surrounded by as many friends as I want to be surrounded by. Ever since I was a child, our house has always been the place the neighborhood kids hung out at. That’s been true in the years since – I have always hosted the parties, get-togethers, birthdays, whatever. The adults hang out at my house now, but generally when they do, we act like kids. We have fun, without worrying about being judged.
My house is a laid back place. You don’t need to worry about spilling a drink (tile floors!). You can play pool, video games, jump on one of many available laptops, watch one of many TVs, etc. It’s a gathering place – and pretty much that is how I like it. It’s rare that I go a day without having someone drop in for a beer and a chat.
Today though – especially tonight, for whatever reason, I decided I didn’t want to be the host of the party. I decided I wanted a quiet night alone with my kids. But now it’s almost 10pm, and I realize in two hours it will be a new year – and that I’ll ring it in alone, or fall asleep before it arrives. And I wish I was surrounded by friends – some of them the same ones I turned away over the last couple days, arguing that I was “busy” or “had plans”. They’ll forgive me, I know. But I am a very social creature, and being alone on New Year’s Eve isn’t sitting as well with me as I thought it would. I miss people. I miss the spilled drinks, the friend’s pets tracking in mud. The kitchen that looks like we just fed a third world country.
So I am spending this New Year’s Eve alone – and I regret it now. I don’t do well “alone”. It gives me too much time to pause and think about me, and my life, and my failures, or my failures to start. It causes me to wonder what if. And to ask, why not? And to ask the bigger question – when?
When is a huge question for all of us – we all have these secret little plans or desires that we someday hope to act on. When is always the hardest thing to come to grips with. When? Now? Next year? In two months, after I finish this job, once the kids graduate? When?
My goal is to make 2007 my when, even if I don’t fully understand the what or why yet.
I’m glad 2006 is coming to a close. It was a decent year, but a fairly hollow one. I didn’t do much. I didn’t change much. It’s left me wanting.