For 41 years, I lived in one place. Even when I went other places for weeks or months at a time, it was always temporary and I knew I would be returning home to Columbus. There are certain things that happen when you always return to the same place for 41 years.
First, you make friends. This happens through the natural course of life, although most of my current friends are people I met through work or a networking effect of those I met through work. Over 41 years, I ended up with an eclectic group of friends who honor me by at least acting like they enjoy our company.
A second thing that happens is a place becomes familiar. You hear about an event one year and think “Oh, we should try that next year.”
Between learning about the annual events and having friends who invite us to do things and/or have parties, we never really had to put much thought into New Year’s Eve. We stumbled across something we wanted to do as a couple, were invited to do something with other couples, or were invited to someone’s party.
Now, as a couple with no dogs, no children, activities that mainly take us out of town, and home offices, it’s suddenly very difficult to meet friends.
The strangeness of being without geographically close friends stuck home when we found ourselves with no plans for New Year’s Eve. I realize in retrospect that I have simply gotten lazy when it comes to planning New Year’s Eve. I have taken it for granted that something will fall into our laps without considering how that could possibly happen in a new place.
Figuring that New Year’s would take care of itself, I didn’t bother to make any definitive plans. Then, New Year’s was upon us. Interestingly, it did take care of itself. We decided to walk across the bridge to downtown and return to a restaurant we hadn’t been to since a visit to Chattanooga before we moved here, back in March. I was skeptical that they would have any tables open, but it turns out that they had several tables for two available. Apparently going out as a twosome is not that popular on New Year’s Eve.
We had an amazing dinner and shared a great bottle of wine. After talking and laughing our way through four courses, we walked out feeling reconnected and ready to face a new year together. However, it was only 9:00PM.
So, we went to the new Sherlock Holmes movie to keep us up until midnight. It turns out I’m much older than I thought–I was nodding off in the first 10 minutes.
After the movie, we walked to the center of the Market St bridge by midnight. We stood on the bridge and kissed at midnight and watched fireworks in at least 5 different directions as we made our way home. So what if we were home by 12:15AM?