A Not-So Snowy SoCal Christmas
December is finally here. 2022 is only weeks away, but before it arrives, we have the holidays! You have to love southern California for our not-so snowy Christmas time.
My family always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. My dad would drive us kids (there were five of us) around to look at Christmas lights while my mom stayed home to “take a bath.” When we got home, Santa would have been there, with presents already under the tree. We always had Christmas dinner with my aunt and uncle and two cousins, adults at one table and kids at a table in the kitchen. I remember we would throw dinner rolls at each other and put olives on the tips of our fingers. We had fun doing silly kid things with no adults around to tell us to stop. These were just some of my warm holiday memories.
Over the years, of course we all grew up and my cousins moved away, so we rarely saw them anymore. My sisters and brother had families of their own, and through the years some moved out of state, so holiday get-togethers were harder to pull off. Sometimes I think back to the spirit and emotions of my childhood holidays, and miss those feelings of the magic of the holidays that only children can really feel.
Another exciting change is happening before we jump into 2022. I’m officially retiring on December 31, 2021 after working for my firm since 1975. There were six of us who formed the firm that year. I’ve watched it grow, I’ve met new people, and I’ve said goodbye to old friends. Most of the original six are already gone. I’m one of the last to leave. When people asked if I was going to retire, I always said I’d know when it was time. After all those years with one company, it would be a big step to walk away and leave behind people who’d become like a family to me. As I came in early and walked the halls, turning on the lights and making coffee, I wondered if I’d miss it all. Would I wake up and be sad and wish I was still part of it?
Two things happened that made the decision much easier. First, our firm did a huge remodel, changing everything. Before we could actually move into our new offices, however, COVID arrived. So, when I came back a year later, it wasn’t the same place anymore, the place with memories around every corner. I came back in July of this year when HR said it was time to return. Everything was shiny and new…and held no memories. Early this year I cut back to part-time, and for the last few months I’ve been on call so didn’t have to come into the office. It made letting go much easier.
Now I can concentrate on writing books. I’m in the middle of two works-in-progress at the moment, and another few are finished but not yet published. I don’t think I’ll be bored. And, most importantly, I don’t think I’ll miss what I’m leaving behind. Now, lets hope I can slip out quietly without having anyone make a big deal of it.
Merry Christmas to all! Talk to you again in the New Year.