January 3, 2018
Our New Year's Eve tradition is to choose a cookbook and to invite friends over for a long, comfortable, delicious meal.
The same couple has joined us for ten years or so. Sometimes others join us - but our tradition remains.
Traditions start somewhere.
There is a first time.
If it goes well, there is a second time.
For me, that's often all it takes. I can be such a creature of habit (even reaching for that phrase to describe it), that it's easier for me to continue a tradition than break it.
Fortunately, the New Year's Eve tradition is one that I want to continue. I love cooking. I love sharing what I cook. And I love spending time with two of my oldest friends. I'm not continuing that tradition out of habit.
I wanted to be careful with the habits I established the first year after Kim died. I knew they could easily become entrenched.
I met friends for coffee a lot. That was a great habit.
Generally, if a friend says "let's meet" or "we should catch up on the phone", my answer is "yes" and I've really enjoyed these conversations.
I've also gotten much better at initiating these meetings. I'll text a friend to see if they're free for coffee.
Over the year I've narrowed my friends list to those who actually do meet and keep in touch and respond.
I don't keep friends out of habit. I keep friends because they're friends.
A habit I've picked up this year is co-working with my sister and some other friends. None of us work in an office so it's great to get together with other people now and then.
Sometimes I'll stop by a place that I know a group of friends meets.
I did that Saturday. I showed up at a place where Bob, Justin, Doug, and the guys meet. None of them were there. I bought a cup of coffee anyway and sat and talked with a guy I've seen around. We've talked a few times before but this time we got to know more about each other.
He had advice for me on online dating. Well, not so much advice as warnings.
It was funny, that was the second time the topic had been raised by someone that day. Must be in the air.
I don't think I'm ready for dating sites. I've heard too many horror stories and sat next to men and women on flights recently watching them as they paged through their Match.com suggestions. I saw them just look at pictures and not bother with profiles.
Dating is not a habit I've picked up this year. Could be too soon. I tried a couple of times. It didn't even begin - and it was probably best for everyone that it didn't.
I've had a couple people try to connect me to someone they knew. I've said "no, thank you", until recently. I just don't think it's going to go well the first n times and I hate for it not to go well with the friend of a friend.
A couple of weeks ago, someone tried to friend me on Facebook. I accepted and asked her why she was connecting and did I know her. She said it was a mutual friend that thought we should go out. So I invited her to meet for coffee. I never heard back. So I unfriended her. I keep friends because they're friends. I'm starting to do that even on FaceBook.
I went to the gym a lot this year.
That's a habit I just love.
Unfortunately, once I started traveling it was a habit that I broke.
Some habits take effort to re-establish.
I sat down to write about traditions and find myself talking about habits.
I go to bed to podcasts now. It's meant that I listen to many more than I used to.
Recently I started listening to the BBC's Desert Island Disks. What recordings would you take with you to a desert island?
They have great guests and use the music as a vehicle for interviewing and drawing the guests out. It wasn't the show I expected it to be.
It turns out, they've had a little bit of experience producing the show.
The last episode of 2017 celebrated the end of 75 years of the show.
Now that's a tradition.
The originator thought that maybe they'd do a run. In his wildest dreams he didn't imagine they'd produce even 100 episodes.
They've produced thousands.
If you didn't feel like doing the arithmetic, 2017 minus 75 takes us back to the 1940s. Can you imagine a program that's been running that long?
It started with one.
After two they had a series.
They just went on to continue the series. For seventy-five years and counting.
It's why I'm trying to be careful with which habits I establish.