Life Is Like A Martini

Forrest Gump’s mother was wrong. Like isn’t like a box of chocolates. Life is like a martini.

My wife worked late the other night and after putting the boys to bed and popping dinner in the oven we both retired to the living room to relax for a few minutes. My wife poured a glass of wine. I fixed a martini.

Usually, I’ll choose beer, but it has been especially hot lately in the Northeast (like everywhere else on planet Earth these days) and I was interested in some variety, so I went with a martini which is usually my “out to dinner” beverage.

Being fairly traditional by nature, my martinis are dry, stirred, and gin-based. I garnish mine with a twist of lemon.

Part of a drink’s appeal is the presentation. You wouldn’t drink red wine out of a coffee mug, for instance. It just wouldn’t feel right. Part of the pleasure of the experience is swooshing the wine around that large globular glass.

It’s the same with a martini. I know some people prefer their martinis on the rocks, but I always make mine up. It feels elegant and sophisticated to have an end-of-day cocktail in a “martini” glass, especially when just relaxing at home.

But I have always felt there was an inherent flaw in the design of the traditional martini glass. The inverted triangle shape makes for an ever increasingly sad drinking experience.

At the start of the martini, you are drinking from the largest part of the glass. You take a handful of sips and the liquid level has barely moved. You think “Brilliant! This one cocktail will last me all night!”

As you consume the martini, you are drinking from a progressively smaller portion of the glass. The liquid level drops faster and faster, relative to when you first began. When you’re halfway through you think “Oh wow, I am going through this faster than I thought.”

The beginning feels like it will never end. The end feels like it’s rushing past too fast.

Isn’t that what life feels like?

When this occurred to me, I started thinking about my kids. Their ages are five and two. To them, a year represents a huge chunk of their lives. To me, that same chunk would need to be almost eight or twenty years, respectively!

As adults we are blessed with perspective simply because we have so many years in our rear-view mirror. We know things will pass with time. If we are going through a rough period, we understand it’s simply a small speed bump in the grand scheme of things.

Kids don’t think that way because they literally can’t. It’s like how we adults find it impossible to comprehend how long the dinosaurs were around. We have no basis for processing millions of years in our minds. It’s the same thing for kids.

Realizing this makes me more mindful about not minimizing my kids’ concerns. I try not to do that anyway, obviously, but this adds another helpful layer.

If your kid doesn’t like their teacher one year, for example, it might be tempting to pooh-pooh it by saying they won’t have to deal with them next year. It’s no big deal! But imagine disliking your boss and your wife telling you “What are you so upset about? Just eight more years and you won’t have to deal with them anymore.”

What little consolation that would bring!

And it’s not just the little kids. When I was a teenager I thought the boy band fad would literally never end. I remember seriously thinking to myself “God dammit. I guess this is what music is going to be like forever now.”

I didn’t have the years of experience to realize that everything is just a phase.

Now that I understand this, I will be more mindful about how I interact with my children. Because sometimes well-meaning words can come off as condescending.

I think the lesson here is this: We all will never be perfect parents. We will always be somewhat out-of-touch or clueless. But at least this helps move the needle a little closer to better understanding our kids.

Or maybe we just need to drink more martinis.

I’ll do both just to be safe.

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