Ten weeks ago I packed up my KIA Soul, left Boston and headed south and eventually west until I landed in Oregon. After taking a little over two weeks and visiting with several friends along the way, I arrived at my destination and thoroughly enjoyed living with my daughter for almost two months. Now, in the past week, I've made the return trip to the east coast. It only took seven days and it felt quite different from my west bound journey, yet no less wonderful.
This was my fourth year of driving cross-country, back and forth, and spending some quality time with my youngest child. My other two, grown children are in Boston and since that's most often been my home base, I've had the luxury of many opportunities to get together with them. Not so much with my baby girl. Since she's been on the left coast for at least twelve years, I've had to content myself with short trips, flying out for a week or so and usually only once a year. A few years ago I decided to open up the schedule of my life, or as Stephen Covey puts it:
"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."
This was one of the best gifts I ever gave myself and now it's become an annual event.
The first two years I drove one way (east to west) with a passenger, different friends who also wanted to see what it was like to explore some of the USA by car. These last two years I've done both directions solo. Whether alone or with someone, both experiences have been great, but there is an intensity that accompanies the trips by myself that I truly love. All my senses seem to be on over drive. Colors are brighter; Sounds are more acute; Awarenesses come with a fanfare.
On my way west, I had my musical playlist blasting for a lot of the time. I made it several years ago and thought I had somehow lost it when I stopped using my iPod. Of course all things Apple talk to each other and when I hooked up the bluetooth in my new KIA, lo and behold, familiar tunes came through, loud and clear from my iPhone. It was exciting to hear my favorites and also, to be reminded of my eclectic taste in music. In fact, it was even surprising to hear that I had downloaded the song "Lot of Livin' " from the 1963 musical "Bye-Bye Birdie". As I careened down the midwestern highways at the legal speed limit of 75, I was lifted up even further by these lyrics:
"There's music to play, places to go, people to see!
Everything for you and me!
Life's a ball, if only you know it!
And it's all just waiting for you!
You're alive, so go on and show it!
There's such a lot of livin' to do!
Such a lot of livin' to do!
What a lot of livin' to do!"
Some people might think I'm crazy to drive over 3,000 miles, each way, on my own. I highly recommend it because of all the different things I see and do along the way, but I would never say that anyone had to do it. Some people think I'm a little odd because some of my hair is purple. Again, I would say "go for it -- it's a conversation starter", but only if you are so inclined. I would never say that everyone should have purple hair. My point is that I encourage all of you to find your version of cross-country excursions and purple hair because, dang it, there's such a lot of livin' to do! This is what I wish for you.
Love and Sparkles,