About a month after I debated whether of not to take a vacation the first week of July, life started to pile on the pressure.
The child support checks arrived late and one got skipped, so that was a worry. Then the ex-husband told me his job was over because his employer was going out of business. After that–my company split into two divisions. Employees bought out the main family-operated business and the owners were left with the smaller divison in Seville, Ohio where I was the accounting manager. Great–more work for me. Now I worried about my career. Finances would be tight. Probably no raise, no end of year bonus, and have to pay higher medical insurance premium payments. At the very worse, the business would fail. And I’d be out of a job.
To top it all, Ohio experienced an absolute, abysmal, YUCKY spring. Late May and the cold, rainy weather kept me inside the house and from planting a flower garden. Frost was even forecast for May 18-19th. Good Grief! To me, cold and rainy equals depressed and inactive.
I struggled with a life trying to overwhelm and beat me down. I know how a baby bird feels when it’s time to crack open the shell in order to emerge and finally leave the nest. That smothering life was a firm shell around me and I wanted so desperately to peck my way through. Chip away at the status quo of my comfort zone and spread my tender feathers wide. Leap out of a world that stretched before me with more and more of the same old/same old deal. Just like the baby bird has to leave the edge and fly, I wanted to get to the edge of my predictable life and look over into an unknown future. Did I have the guts to fly?
That May, back in 2002, I was at a crossroads. I saw myself standing on the edge and really beginning to notice things in my life shifting.
Determined one day to be a published author. Committed to writing every day. Taking an online poetry course. I completed thirty poems for a small volume, titled: “The Dancer”. It wasn’t a finished book, but the manuscript was complete. (The actual publication of “The Dancer” was in 2007. Book is available at amazon.com or direct from me! I’ll even autograph it.)
I had a vision, an idea developing for a book about the trip. Working title: Road Trip July 1-7, 2002 An American Odyssey. I made a list of what I’d need to document my experiences. Notebook to write down impressions at each stop on the journey. A tape recorder and blank cassettes. Disposable cameras, at least 6. I would record as much as possible in each important American location.
And the crux of it all — I’m turning fifty on July 4, 2002.
I HAVE TO GO! It’s a gut feeling – just go for it! This trip could change my life. The closer it gets to July — job be damned! I will never be fifty again, so this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I gotta do this.
What if? What if? My wildest fantasy came true and this memoir/book idea about my road trip became a published book? Even a best seller? Enough money to quit my day job in accounting and finally be self-sufficient financially! Stay at home and write all day. What if?
And–I just stay home and work that first week in July…
I would NEVER know for the rest of my life what might have been. So I’m teetering on the edge. Sure, my job’s important, but jobs come and go. If I’m true to pursuing my purpose and be a genuine writer, then I have to take the chance. The cost? Would $700.00 – $1,000.00 that week jeopardize my moving to Maui? Maybe not. It’s worth it to take my money out of savings for the experience of taking a solitary vacation to make a few of my dreams come true.
OK-I listed the words (in my journal back in May, 2002) to a song that is SO appropriate for this situation I’m facing, it had me sobbing when I heard it play on the radio. Check it out–“Alive” by Jennifer Lopez. It’s 2002 old school, but just reading the lyrics to that song nailed where my head and heart resided that spring of 2002.
At that point in May, I shifted from the practical and logical accounting mind with a vacation check list to an emotional and heart-centered woman who got a glimpse into a deeper, spiritual reality.
What if all these plans were part of a bigger design for my life? What if? What if those fantasy dreams could come true? Could it be God’s spiritual urging within me to take this journey? Is this my big break? After that song played, I felt like God spoke directly to me via the radio. Like I was given the answer. Write. It is my heart and soul. Make it my first priority and everything else will fall into place.
This road trip, this proposed journey through American History in Pennsylvania and New York, with our wars and our heritage, going as far back as tracing my Dutch ancestors–all of it funnels down throughout the ages and resides with me. My unique perspective and life experiences as a fifty year old woman. Fifty years as an American. Born into the baby boomer generation that collectively rocked the world every decade. I’ve been a wife, mother, loved and lost, divorced, single mother and a grandmother in 2002. Everybody has a story to tell. Nobody can tell my story. I HAVE to do this.
Now. When I imagine myself taking this road trip there’s a depth to it. A deeper reason to travel alone to unknown places that are just historical names on a map of America. It may be a solitary vacation, but I’m not alone on this journey. I’m never alone. God watches over me, guides my path, loves and cares for me in every situation–what have I to fear? It’s more than a vacation and drive across Pennsylvania to celebrate my birthday in Philadelphia on July fourth. It’s become a personal odyssey, perfectly described in the dictionary as: an intellectual or spiritual wandering or quest. Is this journey, or odyssey if you will, something I need to give back to God?
So, as the weeks get closer to July, I ask, am I willing to stand up in the face of the uncertainty of my current life and dare–dare to claim my own commitment to take a road trip? If I don’t? I think I’ll have a lifetime of regret that I didn’t crack that shell and leap over the edge to see if I could truly fly.
From anticipation to determination————–