Sunday, December 8, 2019

Time passages.

As alert hearth/myth readers know, I'm in the home stretch of my career of working full-time for someone else. In mid-November, I clocked 20 years with my employer, WilmerHale. And yesterday, I turned 62 -- old enough to begin receiving Social Security benefits.

I can't quit yet. For one thing, I haven't applied for Social Security yet (and everything I'm hearing indicates it's a good idea to apply sooner rather than later, as the government has been known to screw up paperwork -- hard to believe, I know). Also, the lease on our apartment runs through July, and I can't afford the rent here without the current job.

But hitting that 62nd birthday is a milestone, even if it's mostly psychological right now. I've been counting down to the date for a few years. I even installed a countdown app on my phone so I could keep track as the days dwindled down.

Of course, hitting a milestone isn't the only effect of passing time. We got our Yule tree today, and while decorating it tonight, I weighed whether this ought to be the final year for our three elf ornaments.

These guys have been hanging on our tree every year since I was a kid, which makes them at least 50 years old. Originally, the wide-awake fellow's costume was a bright green. His has faded the most, but all three of them have lost some of their vibrant color. And the red guy has nearly lost his head several times over the years; we've braced his neck with toothpicks and glue each time, but what if, next time, there's nothing left to brace?

And what if I decide not to bother with a tree next year? By the time I went off to college, I was mostly in charge of putting up the tree. I'd assemble it, Mom would put on the lights -- those old-fashioned C7 lights with the sockets hooked up in series, so that when a bulb blew, the whole string went out -- and then I'd put up the decorations and she'd do the tinsel icicles.

Eventually she let me do the lights, too, but she didn't trust me with the tinsel. She let me do it one year when I was in junior high, I think. I put it on in handfuls instead of strand by painstaking strand. She took one look at my handiwork, yelled at me, and went back to doing it herself. That tinsel is out of fashion now, and good riddance.

Anyway, by the time Mom hit 60, she was over the whole Christmas tree thing -- and now that I'm there, I can kind of see her point. It's a lot of work.

On the other hand, when I turned on the lights tonight for the first time this year, I let out a little gasp of pleasure. They're so pretty.

And those elves are still cute, even if they're faded. I guess I'll pack them away again when the holidays are over this year and see what happens.

These moments of timely blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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