Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We're Getting a New Year

Everyone’s talking about the brand-new year that just came out. And most everyone I know lined up for weeks to get it upon arrival on Jan. 1.

I love getting something new as much as the next person, but getting something new is a big deal to me, and it requires lots of thought and consideration.

Last week, my wife came to me and said she wanted a new year, saying 2008 was full of disappointments and setbacks.

“Can we afford it?” I asked.

“Please,” begged my 5-year-old son who’d overheard my wife. “Can we please get a new year?”

I packed my family into the car, and we drove down to our neighborhood shopping center to take a look at the year 2009.

Yes, we stopped by Panda Express to get some fortune cookies.

My wife’s fortune told her that a pleasant surprise was in store for her for the New Year, something that could change her life forever.

My son’s fortune dared him to dream, hope, believe, seek, feel, find and love in the coming year.

These fortunes were positive signs that 2009 would be a good year.

My fortune, on the other hand, warned me to be extra cautious of new things.

“Why is my fortune the only negative one?” I asked.

“It’s not negative,” my wife said. “It just tells you be cautious.”

“Yeah, because next year is basically going to be a horrible year for me,” I said.

“How can 2009 be any worse than 2008?” my wife asked me.

“It can always get worse,” I said. “And as a family man, it’s my duty to ‘kick the tires’ on 2009 so we know exactly what we’ll be driving off the lot come the turn of the year.”

And that’s just what I did.

I first took a look at my family’s finances to see what kind of 2009 we would be able to get.

It was immediately clear that we’d have to get the stripped-down model. No bells and whistles in 2009 for us.

With a stripped-down model, you’ve got to know what kind of maintenance plan is going to be required. I took the year 2009 for a test drive around the block to see what was in store for my family.

I foresaw all sorts of problems. I knew then that we’d need some insurance.

So where do you go for insurance on a year? I looked to extended family and friends who might be able to offer assistance in the event my family gets stuck on the side of the road in financial hardship.

Basically, there is no insurance for us. I found that most people we know are also getting stripped-down 2009s, and so we’ll all most likely break down next to each other.

Going into 2008, I felt I had plenty of room to accomplish some big goals.

This new 2009 model has no room whatsoever. In June, I’ll have another birthday, and as I continue to get older, the cap on some of my dreams gets nearer. Pretty soon, these years are gonna start feeling like coach class on most airlines.

Good fortune or bad, I’m guaranteed that 2009 is going to last my family 365 days . . . or our money back. And while it’s nice to have a guarantee, I don’t know if I really want 2009 to last that long. But I guess none of us have a choice in the matter.

This year certainly looks to be one of the toughest years in recent times for my family. I suppose if we’re cautious, and if we dream, hope, believe, seek, feel, find and love, we may find that a pleasant surprise is in store for us, one that could change our lives forever.

And I’m gonna hold Panda Express to that.

-January 2009

No comments: