I would not change single thing about the end of 2013. The holidays were perfect right from the minute I started cooking the Seven Fishes on New Years Eve (and praying to the culinary gods for strength) straight through waking up on January 1st. My amazing children, our family, my special someone...all around me for the end of a year that I was ready to let go. But true to form, 2013 was going to use every last minute to teach me something, and as I roadtripped to Florida over the holiday I was sourrounded by the lesson that money really doesn't matter...at all.
Our first morning on the road found me walking across a small highway in who knows where Georgia to a Waffle House for breakfast. Yes, Princess had her first Waffle House experience. And, she had just spent a night at a Baymont Hotel. I had driven 12 hours south yesterday because airfare was beyond the trip's budget. And as I walked I could not help but compare my current position to one year ago. No, I'm not one to look back all that often. The past stays in the past. But, I was shocked with the insane difference from last year. Not only is my life so much different, but I am so much happier my life is almost recognizable from a year ago. I marched to the Waffle House with a smile on my face and in my heart that was not easy to hide.
This time last year I woke up in a Five Diamond Hotel in Miami, Fla. I had arrived the day before thanks to a coordinated effort of door to door car service and a first class plane ticket. Last year's breakfast delivered via room service on December 27th was more expensive than my hotel and and breakfast for two at the Waffle House this morning combined. This year I was not poolside sipping on Patron and eating sushi. Instead, after the Waffle House I got back in my car and kept driving south hoping to score a great deal on a hotel and golf at least nine holes. And yet, this year I am happy beyond words. Sticks in the car, compass pointed south, smile on my face.
I write often about the concept of those who must be purchased by another, and those who feel they spoil a significant other, drop money to be showy, care too much about labels...women who have dollar signs in their eyes. Good luck with all of that, it doesn't make you happy. Fancy hotels, room service, poolside waitresses...yeah, nice. But what really matters is that I was with a great person who makes me truly happy. And the bigger reason for the smile, I am whole and complete with an amazing life I am leading authentically.
What else did I learn? That when a special someone pulls a muddy Disney tee out of the ground and hands it to you as a souvenier, and THEN gives you a Disney golf ball he finds in a bush on the course (as he looked for his ball in the woods while your sits perfectly on the fairway) well those gestures can mean more than any expensive gift. And yes, you read that correctly, I golfed the two PGA courses at Disney - 18 holes, two days in a row. More on that later.