Wednesday, July 04, 2001
Route 66 - The plan
This summer I've decided to celebrate mid-life by taking a road trip. I've always loved a good road trip. The destination was never very important...only the company and the music! This trip, I'll have only myself for company (someone with whom I've only recently become comfortable) and the journey will be an opportunity to listen to my music on the CD player, and prepare for the rest of my life.
My wife thinks I'm out of my mind, but has decided to find it endearing. The kids suspect I'm sneaking off to Disney without them (I told them to imagine going to the best place on earth). In actuality I'm going to Chicago and renting a convertible...something fun like a Mustang or a Miata. From there I'll spend a week or two driving the 'Mother Road' - the old Route 66 - all the way to the pier in Santa Monica, CA.
As the mid-west turns to south-west, and the great plains give way to desert, I'll think about everything I have to be thankful for, and the important things I have to show for my forty years on earth. When I reach the Pacific ocean, I'll take a flight back to rejoin the world with renewed passion and direction.
In a movie I once saw (I think it was 'The Shawshank Redemption'), the central character delivers a powerful, yet essentially flawed line: "Get busy living, or get busy dying". The flaw lies in the fact that we have no real choice in the matter...we are busily engaged in both. I think what the line is really trying to say is, "Wake up and pay attention...you'll miss it...this is it...this is all there is...not bad...pretty damned good, in fact, isn't it?!"
On my road trip, I may stop short of Santa Monica. I may get home sick and bail out somewhere near St. Louis, Missouri. I might make it as far as Amarillo, Texas before my daughter's voice on the cell phone calls me home to help find a misplaced teddy bear. My son may reach me in the desert east of Kingman, Arizona, to ask me for help launching his water rocket. My wife probably won't call. She will almost certainly wait to see how it all plays out. She's a willing participant in this cosmic game of 'chicken' - waiting to see if I'll actually make it all the way to LA. Either way, she'll get me back better than when I left. And somehow, I think she realizes she will also benefit from my mid-life crisis. Who knows...maybe, in a few years when she turns forty, I'll reach her on her cell phone as she watches the sunset on the pier in Santa Monica, and I'll ask her if she still thinks I'm out of my mind.
So...What are you doing for your mid-life crisis?