For many years I worked in the restaurant and entertainment industries, and I found it difficult to attend all the various holiday gatherings each year. After all, restaurants and arenas tend to be busiest when the rest of the world is out having a good time, and I worked far more than my share of nights, weekends, and holidays in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s.
For example, I spent almost a decade running food and beverage operations at Joe Louis and Cobo Arenas, and I worked every New Year's Eve from 1982 to 1990 at the Joe, as the Red Wings always play a home game on that night. When I owned my restaurants, finding time off during the holidays was a challenge, as I was always covering shifts for sick employees or bailing out the kitchens when unexpected business inevitably overwhelmed the staff.
I even spent quite a few late nights on the holidays delivering pizzas when one of my drivers called off. There is nothing less thrilling than driving with a car full of pizza on a snowy Christmas Eve when you would rather be spending time with your family. Well, perhaps attending a week-long seminar on choosing a home insurance provider might top this, but you get the point.
However, my life changed in the last few years as I shifted careers and started teaching at the university level. My routines became more than normal: I began to enjoy a few weeks in between semesters with a much lower workload, and I have been able to enjoy as many holiday gatherings as I could possibly stand.
In the past few weeks our house has been a veritable beehive of activity, with scarcely two days going by without guests over. Now hosting so many gatherings can be a source of weariness and stress in themselves, but I managed to visit with many of my close friends and family members. However,this seems like a completely new way of life for me, as in my food service days I would be lucky to make even half of the scheduled gatherings around the holidays.
I like normal, and I look forward to another few decades of normalcy.