According to my journal, I realized a profound and epiphany moment in my life. God’s gift to me was writing and to pursue that goal as my first priority was my purpose in life. I began to compose poems for a small poetry collection. It gave me a boost of self-esteem and confidence that I was indeed doing something of value with my life.
Something else nagged me that spring. I kept asking myself to make a decision–do I take a vacation? The plan seem to fall into a neat package. Travel through Pennsylvania to Philadelphia and celebrate my 50th birthday on July 4th. Then continue my journey up the Hudson River to Albany, New York. Along the way, keep a journal of my travels and take photos with a goal in mind to write a memoir/non-fiction book after I returned home to Ohio.
As I well knew, any extra bit of money after paying the bills was set aside in a savings fund for the extraordinary dream of moving to Maui the following year (2003). To dip into my savings fund for the week long road trip was a concern. Money spent that wouldn’t be repaid. How much would I end up paying for my adventure? $500.00? $800.00? Over $1,000.00? That’s a fortune for a single mother to spend on herself. Maternal guilt crept up behind me and warned, “better save it for a rainy day, because you never know when an emergency repair or expense may happen.” The mental debate continued for a few days.
Is this vacation worth it? Is the dream of standing in Independence Hall on July Fourth to celebrate my 50th birthday worth it? Is finally seeing up close and personal the Van Schaick Mansion on Van Schaick Island in the middle of the Hudson River to discover if they are my Dutch ancestors worth it?
Am I worth it? AM I WORTH IT?
And after the road trip, could I sell my story concept and get a book published? Turning 50 on July 4, 2002. Leaving my home in small town Ohio to travel as a solitary woman on a journey to the first stop in Shanksville, Pennsylvania to visit the September 11, 2001 crash site. Then driving alone across the state to Gettysburg and visit the Civil War battlefield. My ultimate goal of arriving in Philadelphia to visit Independence Hall on my birthday and enjoy the parade and festivities in the evening. Then, by the weekend, drive through New York to Albany and visit the land of my Dutch ancestors to see Van Schaick Island and the Mansion.
Four main stops on my road trip. I would document the visits in three sections:
(1) The historical significance of the event. (2) The location (3) The people involved and affected by the historical places in time.
I asked myself — Do I believe in the story? If this could become a reality, I had to know for certain by May. July 4th was less than three months away and I had plans and details to make.
I would only turn fifty once in my life. It was an important time. I would be leaving mainland America in about a year to move to Maui. This probably was my only/last chance to travel to areas I’ve never seen as a tourist. Deep down, I really want to go.
Sometimes it’s just easier to keep the peace and harmony by going along with what everyone else wants and needs from you. You carry responsibilities as a management employee for your company. You shoulder the burden of taking care of a family and others who depend on having you around. Your friends also need quality time on a regular basis. It’s being pulled in many directions, sometimes all at once. And that’s normal for how your life is going.
I didn’t make a grand announcement about my idea to take a vacation–alone–and drive across a couple of states. I didn’t cause any outbursts. Didn’t shake up anyone’s schedules. I noted in my journal that April day, for once in my life I needed to live my own dream.
If I’m not for me, no one else will be. I don’t care what others think and say about this adventure. For the first time in my life–it’s about ME!
After my divorce, I started over with nothing. I learned to depend and take care of myself and my son. I support him. I work full time. I pay the bills. Pay the rent and buy the food. I bought the pick up truck, so it’s my loan.
This is my time. I will do what I want to concerning this vacation road trip and spend the money and take time away from work and travel this solitary journey. And in so doing, prove to myself that I can live the rest of my life after turning fifty in the manner and importance that enriches my life and allows my dreams to become reality.
That spring of 2002 was shaping up to be a major turning point in my life as a woman. I questioned many things about the status quo. Suggestions and whispers inside me grew more determined with each passing day. Find my true purpose in life. Have the courage to pursue those lifelong dreams, no matter what anyone else thinks or says about your decisions. I learned to believe in myself and stand up for an idea. Make a plan that was important to me.
The anticipation continues———-