As many of you know I had a third or fourth mid-life crisis (MLC) last week. The first of such events was probably my solo trip to Belize in 2000. At the age of 32, I travelled to San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize, C. A. to finish the requirements for my scuba diver certification. Jacque Cousteau captured my imagination and the idea of a magical underwater world littered with treasures. Many years later, a television program showing divers swimming with giant manta rays in the blue waters off the coast of Baja, California solidified my desire to do this thing. Dive certification, painting the house, and installing a new kitchen floor had been on my list of New Years resolutions December 31, 1996. I did 2 out of 3 in 1997, which ain’t half bad!
Since that trip, my resolution every year has been to make enough money to move to San Pedro, AC, Belize. Or maybe Roatan, Honduras, as that island has trees and the ocean. Which brings me to 2002 and the second “MLC” in which I quit my lucrative sales job and moved home– back to the piney woods in western Louisiana. In retrospect, I guess I am lucky to have escaped being disowned, as no one in my family has ever QUIT a job. Not without another one. Maybe they had been fired or incarcerated, gotten married or had a baby, but nobody ever just called in well and Sayonara-ed on out. What can I say? Momentary posession of my faculties caused me to take a great leap from the ever-spinning wheel in the rat race and land in a bed of wet, prickly pine straw. Different, but not necessarily better.
Respectably working again, I waited a brief few months before doing the unexpected. I had a new house and a new job and a nearly-new, fully-loaded, paid-off, smallish but stylish SUV. It had an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, 12-way heated power leather seats and a moon roof, which none of my previous vehicles had posessed. How nice and practical. I didn’t want nice or practical, I wanted something else entirely. And, so I bought a sparkling, brand- new 2-seater Thunderbird convertible. It was sleek and fun, powerful and fast, beautiful and perfect, so very unlike that nice Oldsmobile. I am sure that many people would think this is MLC #3, but they would be incorrect. MLC #3 occurred several years later when it occurred to me that while life IS short, I was only halfway done. As a responsible, grown-up parent of two with at least 40 (FORTY) long years to go I needed to shape up. So, I got a full-time job and sold my beloved ‘Bird. What was I thinking?
And that gets us to last week. I came back from a writer’s conference and worked really hard to meet a contest deadline. The laundry was all done, the budget was intact, and the Zags won their first game in a big way against St. Johns on Thursday night. Cinderella was about to go to the ball, and I wanted to be on the sidelines when the dancing started. That’s not entirely true– I wanted to be leading the second line. Friday morning, Mark took the kids to school and I took off to Denver to watch a college basketball game. Yes, this game was over 1,000 miles away and could be seen on national television, but I wanted to be chanting in the crowd, feeling the electricity and excitement, a party to destiny. Instead I got Jimmered. Jimmered, for non-basketball fans is the BYU (non-alcoholic) version of hammered.
Denver was dry and brown and I counted about 18 trees when circling the airport. In contrast, Louisiana is lush and green; trees (and pollen) are EVERYWHERE! Spontenaity on such a grand scale is difficult when you have have a budget and daily responsibilities. But, sometimes you have to give yourself an opportunity to miss what you have in order to fully appreciate it. I am glad I went. I had a good time. It’s good to be home!