My wife gets it.
If you look at the last few months and years, where are my happy places, my comfortable spots, the things that relax me? The coast. In the fog. By the fireside. Craft beer, good books, low-stakes baseball, no alarm set. And thanks to the Marriott-Starwood merger and a surfeit of accumulated points, she was able to put us up at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay for the night. Complete with a fire pit and two Adirondack chairs outside our sliding-glass door. And a s’mores kit for the big fire pits outside next to the bar with the local beer, as the bagpiper played down a sun you couldn’t see for the marine layer. And dinner at a local brewery on the quiet-to-empty main drag of a a quiet downtown, with Vandy’s own Tyler Beede pitching two innings of spring training ball for the Giants on the overhead TV and a hazy IPA so loaded with citra that I took it for an orange juice-based drink at first.
It turns out my most fully realized state – drink, phone and hotel bar – works just as well out on the patio monitoring a Vandy baseball sweep. Or roasting marshmallows and interrogating another guest’s 10-year-old about a new VR-laser tag experience. We used to go to the Ritz a lot more, just for drinks and the fire pit hangout, and I hosted a couple such birthday hangs there (in 2010 and 2014, if memory serves) but it’s been off the radar for an awfully long time for one reason or another.
But she thought to couple it with an excursion to go see the seals at Año Nuevo, and we managed a 24-hour getaway that felt like we’d just taken yet another trip. And it was the perfect antidote to the gloom – not of turning 47, which is materially indistinguishable from 46, but of the inevitable reflection of where you’ve gotten to in life and whether you’re on course to the kind of life you want. And if I were able to retire with her in another ten years or so to the nearby senior-living trailer park, walkable to the Ritz for drinks or electro-bikeable to downtown for dinner, that might be just about dead solid perfect.
You need things to look forward to.