My Midlife Musing has been so quiet lately that I can hear crickets! Lots of little reasons as to why — trying to get my many ‘Midlife houses’ in order — financial, relationship, work, health, fun/travel. Phew! I’ve been traveling quite a bit the past 2 months. Thankfully, December is quiet except my annual New Year’s trip to Paris.
Financial house is getting in order. Living in Los Angeles when I retire is not an option. As young as I feel, retirement will upon me sooner than I think. Matter-of-fact, most of my traveling has been to check out different cities in the Midwest and West.
But it will be hard to retire anywhere if I haven’t fully prepared, meaning if my retirement savings are insufficient. No bueno. My plan (this week) is 1) to have rental property in the city where I’ll retire, 2) to move into one of the properties at retirement and 3) to live in a small apartment in south of France during the winter.
With that in mind, I’m implementing the plan.
Relationship house is in order. Pretend relationship went belly up.
Work house is a work in progress. Not sure what to do about it and I’m not spending time thinking about it. Still figuring out my blog and how to “get myself out” to the masses.
Health house (would that be a gym?). meh. Need to get my focus back.
Oh the fun house — travel! I have quite a few upcoming trips but most of them are either blog conferences or rental property hunting trips.
Lots to blog about on the varying ‘houses’, especially as progress happens. Don’t expect much progress in the relationship house — that will probably remain a 1-room outhouse! 🙂
For Thanksgiving, I journeyed to Monument Valley — sacred center of the Navajo culture. The desire to go to Monument Valley started easy enough — fans of BBCAmerica’s show Doctor Who will remember “The Impossible Astronaut” episode was shot in/around Monument Valley. IN!
Did you know John Ford filmed many of his most famous Westerns in Monument Valley? Yup! DOUBLE IN. All I had to do was book the ticket and go …. except that was 2011. I didn’t make it because of work obligations.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2012. Air fare – check; Hotel – check; rental car … oops. When I checked into Hertz, I had 2 reservations according to the chatty woman behind the counter. My choices? A SUV or a Mustang. Neither sounded appealing. For those who know me, you know I’m not a fan of SUV (never mind the trip to Wyoming in May) nor do I like going fast. Give me one of those ‘super-economy compact’ cars with roll-down windows. As long as there’s a slot for my phone charger, I’m happy.
On impulse, I changed my mind and went with a Mustang. I was heading to Navajo country. It seemed right.
The drive to Monument Valley was uneventful. Except for some of the mountain driving and the big rig that almost ran a SUV into the side of the mountain.
As the endless road stretched on (and on and on), suddenly in the distance, Monument Valley appeared!
It’s hard to describe the feeling of achieving a bucket list item. A sense of accomplishment, a sense of pride and a sense of awe at the geography. It is more breathtaking than I imagined and my photos are woefully inadequate.
The road on the valley floor is traveled by the Navajo people who live there. They choose to live in this sacred place without electricity or running water, as their ancestors did. It’s also a 17-mile drive around most of the monuments. NOT recommended for cars low to the ground — I went for it! The mustang is a rental, after all!
One of the “must do” items in Monument Valley is watching the sunrise or sunset. My hotel, The View Hotel, sits in the park and is built to give every room a view of the Valley.
Monument Valley — a spiritual center for the Navajo, a spiritual center for those of us who visit.
It was a special way to spend Thanksgiving.
Just don’t get me started about the drive back to Phoenix at 4a! What was I thinking? Well, I changed my flight in order to make it home in time for a friend’s wedding. Without realizing the drive is 4.5 – 5 hours. I needed to be at rental counter by 9:30. Ugh.
As I checked out, the desk clerk suggested I drive 40-45 mph because cows might be on the highway. Uh, ok. Cows? I didn’t know that Navajo land is free grazing which means cattle freely roam all hours of the day and night. I sat in my car as it warmed up and said a prayer to Mother Earth and Father Sky. Mother Earth, look out for me and the cows until Father Sky woke up. With that said, I started out. Whatever happened I was thankful and at peace.
The first glimmer of day light appeared at 6:14a and I was never so happy as that moment. I don’t know which was worse — desolate night driving or mountain driving. Thank you Mother Earth and Father Sky.
However, my Mustang was outstanding! I’m not a fan of fast or driving; however, I enjoyed driving that Mustang at 85-95 mph! (not sure which guiding spirit to thank for the safe delivery to Phoeniz Airport but THANK YOU).
Do you have a bucket list? Did you have one at 25? Is it different than the one you have today?
I certainly didn’t have a bucket list at 25. Heck, at 25, I was focused on the American Dream — get an education, find a partner, get married, buy a house, have children! I had no understanding of a ‘bucket list’ or the entertainment goals people set. My parents were hard-working blue collar types — a bucket list item was being able to clothe and feed your family every month.
Here I am at 50, unmarried, no kids, and yes, I have a bucket list; although I didn’t call it a ‘bucket list’ until the 2007 movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.
I love that movie. Love that it shows mature men taking risks to achieve dreams — now it does help that Jack Nicholson’s character is uber-wealthy. What I love about his character is he finds joy in helping Morgan Freeman’s character fulfill his bucket list. A bucket list the character had no idea was possible.
Yet, his greatest goal was desire was to be a good husband to his wife. He thoroughly enjoyed each and every moment of his time with Jack Nicholson’s character yet he was clear about what mattered most — his middle-class life with the love of his life.
Isn’t that the best bucket list? The one that lists big ticket items with small ticket items? It seems like big ticket items STOP life (OMG! Climb Mt Everest? You did!). But don’t small ticket items MAKE life? (My cable guy is so nice and he asked me for coffee)
I enjoy this blog. This lovely writer has annual bucket lists that have big ticket and small ticket items … and it’s the small ticket items that touch me. Yes! Thank you for thinking “reading to your child” is important because you can do it 365 days versus flying an airplane/helicopter.
I have no delusions — I ain’t climbing Mt Everest; heck it’s highly unlikely I’ll climb Mt Baldy in California (outside of LA). It’s the small ticket items I find myself focusing on (those and lower adrenline big ticket items!)
What about you? Did you find your bucket list changing as you aged? Are you risk-averse or risk-seeking? I wish I were risk-seeking but truthfully I am more conservative in risk. Again, zip-line in Costa Rica is not on my bucket list!
I have been an unabashed fan of Doctor Who since 1978. It was hokey with inexpensive graphics, true, but the premise of the story — an alien with a kooky sense of adventure and fun stole a time machine and off he went! — resonated with me. He’s brilliant, outrageous, not confined to rules that govern humans and he has a freakin’ ti!me machine!
As a 10-year old I wanted to go where I wanted when I wanted and Doctor Who gave me that. I wanted to be in a new country/new world in time for the next meal.
I didn’t get to visit the original Doctor Who set but I did finally set foot on a Tardis. I didn’t realize it was a bucket list item but my childlike awe and joy was too evident, too huge, and I knew this machine was special to me indeed. This photo was taken in Cardiff, Wales, UK — home of the new Doctor Who series.
Welcome to my travel commentaries. An airplane doesn’t get me where I want to go as quickly as a Tardis but I usually don’t have chaos and/or drama. Not a bad trade-off.