You know you’ve reached the age of mental saturation when, in spite of everything that’ll be happening between now and New Year’s Day, your major concern isn’t whether you’ll take the Polar Plunge into the sea to welcome in the new year, but where and when you’ll manage to change into your bathing suit and wading slippers. As an enthusiastic alumnus of Outward Bound, I know I can handle the excruciating momentary agony of the Atlantic Ocean in January. It might even stimulate the production of some healthful hormones. But for a long-limbed, arthritic old man, a complete costume change in the confines of the front passenger seat of a Kia Soul while tooling through Boston traffic, presents a severe logistical challenge.

See what I mean? Holidays have become less and less opportunities to spend time with a beloved traveling companion than challenges to show up where I need to, when I need to, with all the stuff I need to have with me. The potential for screwups is forever before me. Not to mention foul weather and airline schedule changes.

Willem Lange is a regular contributor to the Weekend Magazine. He lives in East Montpelier.