Christmas is over, the kids are gone, there's empty space beneath the tree. The wrapping paper and debris are bagged up and ready to burn. It's Sunday morning and Dorothy and I are alone, watching tv and drinking coffee. I miss the cacophony of grandkids playing with shiny new toys; the background noise of everyone talking at once, the sensory overload of too much to eat, commingled conversations, remote controlled toys buzzing around the house, and the emotional high of having with you the people you love most. All that has given way to a reflective silence, an empty house. It's a time for Dorothy and I to weigh the possibilities of the new year: the prospect of retirement, the challenge of living on a smaller income, the opportunity to explore new things, to stretch ourselves. A new year unfolds.