Pushing It Down With A Stick


I cannot eat any more food.

I cannot drink one more drink.


And yet, I really haven’t done anything but socialize and holiday. Holiday has become a verb.

Cousin Joe has a term for that end of the night drink. The one that comes after a day of drinking and eating when you really shouldn’t be having another drink but you don’t want to call an end to the day. You’re done with the beer, wine or bubbles. That last drink that you’re “pushing it down with a stick.” And that’s when the choice is made. The frangelico on ice, the kahlua and milk, or for me last night, the chocolate martini (which was basically an alcoholic chocolate milk shake).

Holidays at this time of year can bring a special type of exhaustion. The rush of shopping, wrapping, writing and giving. Accompanied with the catch ups with family and the dinners with friends. A time of year where you are forced to reflect. There’s no escaping it.

“So what are your plans? How much longer will you be in Qatar?”

Bog standard replies are given without real answers being provided.

“G loves his job. I’m enjoying the flexibility of writing while being able to do school drop offs and pick ups. The little travellers are at a great school.”

“Do you worry…”

You begin to wonder if you don’t worry enough.

We don’t have the answers. And each year we’re forced to face it – we don’t have the answers.

I ran into a friend’s older brother. It’s been over 10 years. I listened as a voice I recognized and a face I knew told a story, but it was different. Older. Same eyes, same smile. But older.

His children are now finished at school; drinking, going to music festivals, taking gap years.

I thought about the times my girlfriend had babysat these tiny boys, wasn’t that just a few years ago?

The beauty of aging is watching your friendships age with you. The care that is taken over a friend who has had a “prick of a year”. The hand resting on a shoulder. The hug goodbye as someone sets off overseas. The eye contact that escapes any chance of an awkward moment. Stable, long term, reliable.

An annual lunch. Old friends.

After a day of reflection. Catching up on careers, life choices, home building, school selections and relationships, G and I sat in the lobby of our hotel. Shoes off, cocktails in hand.

Where did we want to be in 2 years? Who knew.

But right now it was all pretty bloody good.


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