Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Christmas: A time for partying

So, the festive season is upon us – and that means Christmas parties galore.

People have mixed opinions about Christmas parties – a pseudonym for drunkenness and debauchery during the festive season. On the one hand, they are great for morale and team bonding in the work place, especially during the current economic climate (and a free meal and unlimited free alcohol is always a plus). On the other hand, the mention of a Christmas party always brings a cringe factor as the hazy recollection of the shenanigans from the previous year return.

Why do we think it is really a great (no, exceptionally brilliant) idea to make out with the pimply admin intern (whose name you don’t even know), or inform your boss of his poor leadership skills, or use the photocopier for reasons other than copying paper?

I recently went to an industry Christmas party where the majority of people were unknown to me – good that I was anonymous; bad that some could be potential future bosses. I behaved myself, others did not. But what an interesting mix of people. You’ll always get the people who have to name drop (that’s nice that you’ve interviewed Brad Pitt!), then there are those who have to justify their current career direction, and those who have egos twice the size of their head, and those that try it on with several people. I even got informed I might want to consider a boob job – he was a health tourism journalist. By 9.30pm the mojitos were coming fast and furious – and free. I decided it was time to leave.

Everyone has a horror story to tell about a work Christmas party. Mine would be the time everyone thought it was an exceptionally brilliant idea to play drinking games in the presence of our boss. In hindsight (wonderful thing that) it was not such a good idea.

This year was much tamer – though I do feel sorry for the restaurant staff who had to put up with us for nine hours and our poor excuse for singing. Yes it was my idea to sing rounds of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – but how was I to know that it would not sound like Il Divo?

Family Christmas parties practically fall into the same category. Some people love the big get together with extended family. Others hate it with a vengeance, what with all the cooking (and washing up), the lack of privacy and unlimited arguments.

This year, I was invited to an English friend’s family Christmas. It was pretty much like my New Zealand family Christmas, only colder and with considerably more alcohol. I got to meet my friend’s grandparents who were absolutely delightful and after several glasses of brandy had great joy in telling me how to keep my youthful appearance (did you know sticky tape reduces fine lines and wrinkles? It’s apparently true). And then on Boxing Day, we got to do it all again; this time with the added value of trivial pursuit, charades and humming songs. The best team won.

After five days of over eating, consuming more alcohol than the previous two months combined, and extensive television watching, I now get to do it all again for New Year’s. The diet starts next week.

All the best for 2009.

Christmas: A time for partying

So, the festive season is upon us – and that means Christmas parties galore.

People have mixed opinions about Christmas parties – a pseudonym for drunkenness and debauchery during the festive season. On the one hand, they are great for morale and team bonding in the work place, especially during the current economic climate (and a free meal and unlimited free alcohol is always a plus). On the other hand, the mention of a Christmas party always brings a cringe factor as the hazy recollection of the shenanigans from the previous year return.

Why do we think it is really a great (no, exceptionally brilliant) idea to make out with the pimply admin intern (whose name you don’t even know), or inform your boss of his poor leadership skills, or use the photocopier for reasons other than copying paper?

I recently went to an industry Christmas party where the majority of people were unknown to me – good that I was anonymous; bad that some could be potential future bosses. I behaved myself, others did not. But what an interesting mix of people. You’ll always get the people who have to name drop (that’s nice that you’ve interviewed Brad Pitt!), then there are those who have to justify their current career direction, and those who have egos twice the size of their head, and those that try it on with several people. I even got informed I might want to consider a boob job – he was a health tourism journalist. By 9.30pm the mojitos were coming fast and furious – and free. I decided it was time to leave.

Everyone has a horror story to tell about a work Christmas party. Mine would be the time everyone thought it was an exceptionally brilliant idea to play drinking games in the presence of our boss. In hindsight (wonderful thing that) it was not such a good idea.

This year was much tamer – though I do feel sorry for the restaurant staff who had to put up with us for nine hours and our poor excuse for singing. Yes it was my idea to sing rounds of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – but how was I to know that it would not sound like Il Divo?

Family Christmas parties practically fall into the same category. Some people love the big get together with extended family. Others hate it with a vengeance, what with all the cooking (and washing up), the lack of privacy and unlimited arguments.

This year, I was invited to an English friend’s family Christmas. It was pretty much like my New Zealand family Christmas, only colder and with considerably more alcohol. I got to meet my friend’s grandparents who were absolutely delightful and after several glasses of brandy had great joy in telling me how to keep my youthful appearance (did you know sticky tape reduces fine lines and wrinkles? It’s apparently true). And then on Boxing Day, we got to do it all again; this time with the added value of trivial pursuit, charades and humming songs. The best team won.

After five days of over eating, consuming more alcohol than the previous two months combined, and extensive television watching, I now get to do it all again for New Year’s. The diet starts next week.

All the best for 2009.

Monday, 15 December 2008

On turning 28

So, I am a year older – the big two-eight. Scary.

Clearly I had to take some time out and do some navel gazing – reorganise my priorities, reassess my life risk-benefit ratios, consider my future.

Dull, but essential.

My first response to turning 28 was: “Geeze, two years till I’m 30. I’m getting old.”

The first response of everyone around me was: “Old? You’re a spring chicken.”

Funny. I don’t really feel like a spring chicken. 10.30pm is my average bedtime. A night out consists of getting the last tube home. Getting drunk is overrated (especially the next morning). And is that my biological clock I hear ticking?

Ok, so 28 isn’t as bad as say 29, or 30. And it's no where near as “old” as 40 or 50. But 28 is not just two numbers getting cosy. It’s loaded. It screams responsibility, maturity, time to settle down, time to be making money, managing a business, owning a house.

In 2007, the median age of a New Zealand female getting married for the first time was 28.1. When my mum was my age she was married with two children.

With the increasing drive to stay young – be it via plastic surgery or finding a toy boy – there is pressure when another year rolls around. It’s understandable why so many young people in their 20s today are going through quarter-life crises – there is a deep subliminal message that there are certain things we should be achieving at certain points in our life and if we haven’t met those in our set out timescale then clearly we’ve failed.

Back when I was 15, I always aimed to be making NZ$100,000 by the age of 30. This is looking increasingly unlikely – unless there are seismic changes in how much journalists get paid or I take up another better-paid profession that requires no additional training (options are rather restricted I’m guessing). Even though I’ve come to terms with this, I’m still acutely aware that I feel haven’t achieved enough in 28 years. I mean, Kelly Osbourne is writing an autobiography – and she’s only 23.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Twenty-eight is rumoured to be an awesome age. It’s no longer 27, which is just a weird number. And it’s not 29, which is one year shy of 30 (and as I’ve been told, you spend the whole of 29 worrying about turning 30). Meanwhile, a wise source told me 28 is the average age of heroines in romance novels.

But getting old is all relative, isn’t it? I mean, it doesn’t matter how old you are, there will always be someone younger than you and by proxy you will feel old in comparison.

However, you don’t need some whipper snapper to remind you that a Zimmer frame is only around the corner when all you have to do is reminisce – My Little Ponies, Smurfs, three sweets for 1 cent, New Kids on the Block (the first time round).

But at the end of the day, you’re only as old as you’re shoe size. Right?

On turning 28

So, I am a year older – the big two-eight. Scary.

Clearly I had to take some time out and do some navel gazing – reorganise my priorities, reassess my life risk-benefit ratios, consider my future.

Dull, but essential.

My first response to turning 28 was: “Geeze, two years till I’m 30. I’m getting old.”

The first response of everyone around me was: “Old? You’re a spring chicken.”

Funny. I don’t really feel like a spring chicken. 10.30pm is my average bedtime. A night out consists of getting the last tube home. Getting drunk is overrated (especially the next morning). And is that my biological clock I hear ticking?

Ok, so 28 isn’t as bad as say 29, or 30. And it's no where near as “old” as 40 or 50. But 28 is not just two numbers getting cosy. It’s loaded. It screams responsibility, maturity, time to settle down, time to be making money, managing a business, owning a house.

In 2007, the median age of a New Zealand female getting married for the first time was 28.1. When my mum was my age she was married with two children.

With the increasing drive to stay young – be it via plastic surgery or finding a toy boy – there is pressure when another year rolls around. It’s understandable why so many young people in their 20s today are going through quarter-life crises – there is a deep subliminal message that there are certain things we should be achieving at certain points in our life and if we haven’t met those in our set out timescale then clearly we’ve failed.

Back when I was 15, I always aimed to be making NZ$100,000 by the age of 30. This is looking increasingly unlikely – unless there are seismic changes in how much journalists get paid or I take up another better-paid profession that requires no additional training (options are rather restricted I’m guessing). Even though I’ve come to terms with this, I’m still acutely aware that I feel haven’t achieved enough in 28 years. I mean, Kelly Osbourne is writing an autobiography – and she’s only 23.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Twenty-eight is rumoured to be an awesome age. It’s no longer 27, which is just a weird number. And it’s not 29, which is one year shy of 30 (and as I’ve been told, you spend the whole of 29 worrying about turning 30). Meanwhile, a wise source told me 28 is the average age of heroines in romance novels.

But getting old is all relative, isn’t it? I mean, it doesn’t matter how old you are, there will always be someone younger than you and by proxy you will feel old in comparison.

However, you don’t need some whipper snapper to remind you that a Zimmer frame is only around the corner when all you have to do is reminisce – My Little Ponies, Smurfs, three sweets for 1 cent, New Kids on the Block (the first time round).

But at the end of the day, you’re only as old as you’re shoe size. Right?