Monday, December 31, 2007
The time just flew during my trip. I thought I'd have time to loll around (where do these ideas of mine come from?).
There was no lolling. I hadn't seen my parents in a year and it was wonderful to sit around after dinner and talk. I miss seeing them and I'll have to visit again soon.
Yesterday we had a nice lunch with my brother Allen, who also lives in Santa Monica. I met his girlfriend, who is sweet and fun. My brother is a partner at a corporate law firm and she's just starting law school. She thinks architecture is a glamorous profession, while my brother reasons that because so many people want to be architects, the wages aren't so great. Therefore he's in a profession that no one enjoys and he's paid well (perverse thought process, but that's my brother).
Allen spent a few years in New York before moving out West. He lived in the netherworld near Wall Street, so he could walk to work at a high-powered firm. His schedule was so demanding that any spare second for himself was precious. A few minutes salvaged from a commute meant getting into work a tad earlier, leaving earlier and being able to go to the gym. In general, though, he pulled 12-hour days routinely and worked nearly every weekend. My parents eventually joined him out West, leaving behind the long, dreary Boston winters.
Allen was saying how tough life is in New York, and that the struggle isn't worth it. He's right in some ways - New York is tough if you're older, if you have kids, if you don't have a steady income or if you're in the slightest way handicapped. You have to constantly climb up and down stairs. It's not easy to own a car. Many things are expensive. And it's damned cold in the winters (not as bad as Chicago, but still).
Life is 'tough' yes, but I think my brother has been softened by California living, which in my perspective is a little too cushy. People rarely walk around. Everything seems big - the malls, the stores, the endless freeways. And it's sunny just about every day. Doesn't that get a little....much? I love the cloudy days, the rainy days and just how every day can be different.
Next time I go to California, I'll have to take more pictures. I wanted to take photographs of the foothills, charred by the recent fires. We drove by stretches of burnt hillsides on the PCH and you could see how close the fires got to homes and gas stations. I also wanted to take pictures of the crowds and stores on The Promenade, but we were in a hurry. Next time.
Tonight, Mark and I don't have anything planned for New Year's Eve. We'll have a nice dinner and enjoy each others' company.
It's hard to believe that it's 2008 already. I have nothing but optimism for the coming year. My general plans include a healthier lifetsyle (going to the gym more often, eating better, dealing with work stress better, kvetching less), visiting my parents more often and just enjoying the moment. Time flies and the moment is really all we have.
Happy New Year to everyone out there.
May you and your families have a wonderful, healthy and happy 2008!
Photo by myself of a typical street in Santa Monica.