Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
Remember the group America? I loved them…their gentle, soulful, easy listening songs. Ventura Highway was one of my favorites. They are on my bucket list to go see – almost saw them at the beach last year, but the timing did not work out. Next time. Along with Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, and Chicago. But I digress… Heard Ventura Highway as I traveled down I-95 last Thursday, sun shining, sunroof wide open, and music blaring on my way to my Happy Place. Only a 5 ½ hour drive from Richmond, VA, since I decided to start my mini-escape off on the right foot by taking my daughter’s cycle class (in Richmond) at 6:15 am, and leaving from there. I never take 95, instead I drive the calm and less traveled route down 29 to Greensboro, Asheboro, Rockingham, Bennettsville, BEACH! I have my regular stops (4) on that route, I mean I drink tea the whole way, so those stops are necessary in my normal 6 ½ hour drive! But I haven’t driven 95 to the beach in years, so this posed a problem – where would I stop? I was a bit out of my comfort zone, but figured it out and found a couple of clean, well populated gas stations before getting off 95 in Latta, putting me right back on my normal route for the last hour of my trip. I could drive that part blindfolded. Don’t fret, I didn’t!
“You say 4 hour car ride, I say 4 hour live concert featuring me!”
I love car rides and don’t mind the driving. Obviously. And now each day we are adding 2 more minutes of daylight which means I can leave even later in the day and still arrive before dark. (Not crazy about driving at night by myself.) I have to admit, I use both my navigation system AND the Waze app on my phone, so someone is constantly giving me directions. (During December, my daughter changed my Waze “voice” to Santa’s. Right now it is “Randy” – I know several Randys and love them all!) Directions and I don’t always mesh, so I need that double reinforcement. True, I pre-plan and look at my route on Google Maps before I leave, because I have learned that the nav systems sometimes take you odd ways to get to your destination and I like the more direct roads I am familiar with. Love the Waze app as it warns me about upcoming hazards, from potholes and roadkill to accidents and hidden “Po-pos”. My kids laugh when we talk about how I used to order a triptik from AAA when we would travel anywhere. Loved those! Loved flipping the page over when we completed each leg of our journey. Maps. Everything nowadays is on your phone. My kids can’t comprehend what it was like when I was their age and always kept a map in my glove box and relied on road signs and verbal directions (dangerous for me!). And if I got lost and needed to call home, I had to find a pay phone and a quarter!
“Trust and have faith the open road leads you to amazing destinations,”Jakes Herbst
Driving down MY “Ventura Highway” to the beach always gives me time to think and ponder my life. Take stock. Have conversations with myself about any issues facing me. Do you ever do this? Stop and really look at your life – where you are now? Where you are going? What path you want to take? As I get older, this seems to become more important. Obviously, my life today in no way resembles where I thought I would be 5 years ago. But I am happy with where I am. I went “off the map” to get here. So I wonder where I will be in 5 more years? I think I know where I WANT to be, but how do I get there? Time to start planning now as I am no spur of the moment girl! Wonder if I could get a triptik to get me there?
“It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”Ernest Hemingway
I know what I am NOT going to do. I am not going to lament the fact that my life isn’t how I always planned it. I am not going to look back with regrets. I am not going to waste my time or my days. I am going to look forward to my future and work towards what I truly want out of life. I am going to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to me. I am going to have as much fun as I can, and spend as much time with my family and friends, and at my happy place, as I possibly can. And I am going to try and do it all with grace and gusto, because if there is one thing I have learned these past 3 years, it is that there will be major highs and major lows, but neither will last longer than necessary. Life is a journey that we have to travel on our own merits and find our own way.
“Life is a one way road… where you can look back… but you can’t go back… so don’t miss anything in life.”
So in the meantime, I am going to enjoy these years leading up to any big changes in my life. Plan as many fun events, trips, visits with friends and family, whatever I want to do. Just like I did last weekend by taking my older daughter’s cycle class, going to the beach and seeing my older sister, coming home via Charlotte to see my son and his new apartment, and making yet one more stop to see my momma, younger sister, and sweet Jack, my great nephew, before heading home. You should do whatever makes you happy too, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
“Ventura Highway… in the sunshine… where the days are longer, the nights are stronger than moonshine… you’re gonna go, I know…”America
PS Horton heard a HOO here in Charlottesville Monday night when UVA won the NCAA basketball tournament. Last year they made history losing in the first round as the #1 seed to the #16 seed, and this year they rebounded and made history earning the school’s first national basketball championship. Needless to say, Charlottesville has been rocking and rolling in celebrations all week! Go HOOS!