Inexplicably Craving Holiday Card Year-End Recaps
The holiday season is upon us, and greeting cards are starting to arrive from family and friends. Each year, a lot of my friends send photo cards. You know the ones - a glorious picture from wherever they spent their summer vacation. Sunbathing in Greece, dune buggy riding in Africa, cycling in Sweden.
Then there are the cards with lengthy recaps listing all the major events that happened to their family this past year. Which kid advanced in judo, which mastered the violin. Who learned Swahili, who sailed around the world, who learned to cook in an Italian villa, who sipped the best margarita recipe on a Mexican beach.
Used to be I'd take these cards with a grain of salt. I mean, if I hang out with these friends I already know all about their exploits. And if I don't hang out, for instance because they live across the country and haven't seen me for years, do I really care that Ruby the Rottweiler had puppies?
This year, though, something feels different to me. I am newly fascinated by these holiday messages. As a single parent raising two children half-time for years now, I want to compare my married friends' lives to my own.
Know that I'm not worried about keeping up with the Joneses. While my friends may have remodeled their homes, bought snazzy new cars, trekked Himalayan peaks, I don't feel a need to copy their accomplishments. I'm not pining with envy at every new thing in their lives.
But I am very aware of how my friends' lives have turned out in comparison to my own.
Ten years ago, I got divorced. It was just after the dot-com boom, and I was in a good position to push my engineering career to stratospheric heights. Some colleagues suggested I could have walked away from my kids, become a dead-beat dad, chased after women in exotic locales, and invented an entirely new life for myself. Write software in Paris or Tahiti? Why not.Continued on the next page