Resolutions and Second Chances

Suleymaniye Mosque

Suleymaniye Mosque

The marines have a saying: We do more by 8 AM than most people do all day.  I should have been a marine.  My entire life I have embraced a near maniacal adherence to the “early to bed, early to rise” tenants of our forefathers.  I always get the worm, but generally in a predawn solitude……. boring.

Pat, on the other hand, has endorsed the mantra: We do as little as possible before 8 AM (and yes, Julie, that includes early morning, super saver flights ). 

My resolution is to become a bit less Ben Franklin and a bit more Pat.

Two years ago, Pat and I spent four days in Istanbul over New Years.  The concierge mentioned a celebration, “Join us New Years Eve for a complimentary party on our rooftop deck and to watch the fireworks at midnight.”   I smiled noncommittally realizing my participation was, at best, doubtful.  I am not a New Year’s Eve reveler – never have been.

I brushed my teeth, put on my pajamas and crawled into bed at 11:30.  Pat grabbed a jacket and went up to the roof top party.  After all these years, we accept our differences.  Pat knew I would go to bed before midnight.  I encouraged him to enjoy the party.  As the clock struck midnight, I laid in bed listening to the booms and watching flickers of light crackle around the edges of the blackout curtain.

I kept thinking, “Why am I in bed?” I am in Istanbul, Turkey?

I contemplated throwing on my clothes and dashing up to the party.  But I was sure the fireworks would stop soon……    Really soon…..     Any minute now…

Finally, silence.

Pat returned to the room. “Julie, you missed something special.  The fireworks lit up the Golden Horn and the mosques.   It was spectacular.”   I knew it would be.  So why did I crawl into bed, not even tired, and listen to the fireworks?

This year my daughter, Taylor, and I are taking a girls trip which starts in Istanbul just before New Years.  Unlike Pat, Taylor will employ torture tactics innate to 21 year old daughters if I suggest an early bed time.  Taylor’s mantra is: “Seriously?  It’s not even past midnight!”  We will be standing somewhere near the shore as Istanbul welcomes 2014.  We will oohh and ahh, and I will silently thank the God of second chances.

Taylor is an intrepid traveler, a night owl and a ruthless killer should I suggest opting out – of anything.  We will visit a traditional Haman and lose a few layers of skin (I stopped at the Haman door last time, too intimidated to enter).  We will roam the outer neighborhoods just beyond our comfort zone; eat food of questionable health standards; and talk to strangers.

From Istanbul, we will fly to Amman, Jordan.  Given the choice between a 2 AM or 7 AM departure, I booked 2 AM.  If I were traveling alone, I would have purchased the 7 AM flight without hesitation.  I forced myself to admit that 4 AM wake up calls really are unreasonable.

I scheduled this post to hit at midnight on New Years Eve just as fireworks erupt in the night sky.  Taylor and I will be standing on the shore, shivering and smiling.  We’ll run back to our hotel just behind the Blue Mosque and jump into bed.  We will sleep through the early morning call to prayer.

I am not big on resolutions, but this year I am making one. I will try harder to embrace life, no matter the hour.  I will grab all the opportunities surrounding me every day.  And I will stop relying on second chances.

Wherever you are and whatever your resolutions, Happy New Year!

Categories: Ruminations

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6 replies

  1. THANK YOU! I am embracing life too! I’m moving to Provence, France! I’m leaving my dog in charge of Jerry.

    You are the best!!!!

  2. Europe turned me into a New Year’s Eve reveler. I never got into the holiday in the States–sitting up in someone’s house, usually, to watch the ball drop on TV and performances by music celebrities I didn’t like. Often I was asleep before 12, or at 12:02. The vibrant get-outside nature of the European celebrations has changed things! I am usually looking at the big clock on the church tower at 12 and 12:30 amazed that I’m still outside. That said, I think while traveling we often have passed on opportunities late at night or early in the morning, probably missing wonderful sights and scenes, kicking ourselves after we go home or after we hear about someone else’s experience. Hope you and your daughter had a great New Year’s Eve!

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