This winter seems to be extreme in so many ways. Sub-zero temperatures, mountains of snow, more darkness than sunlight, and concern about the health (especially) and happiness of people I love - these factors have all come together in an imperfect storm to create the most severe craving for a brief escape - sunshine, warmth, and getting the heck out of Dodge (aka The Great Northeast)! In response to all of that, my friend Joanne and I are heading south to sunny F-L-A in 10 days, Boca Raton specifically, and just the thought of our 5-day jaunt is lifting me out of this winter fog.
I am NOT a winter person. If it weren't for my kids and grandchildren, I'd be figuring out a way to live in a place where palm trees always sway in the wind, where salt air kisses my face, where the sound of waves lulls me to sleep, where fish is always the main course, and where my mind and body can slow down. I can't have that permanently, but can escape to it once in a while.
As much as I love my job, I find myself calculating each day, each week, to get to the next weekend, to the next time I can just stop. It doesn't happen, though, because even on those precious days off, the hours are filled with things I don't get to do on a work day. That's why getting away, going on a vacation where I am physically removed from the to-do, should-do, want-to-do, don't-want-to-do lists is such a welcome interruption to a too-busy, though self-imposed, life.
This week I am attending a 3-night seminar on retirement planning. With my 61st birthday just around he corner (yikes), I find myself wishing to fast-forward to my "FRA" or full-retirement age of 66. How crazy is that? I don't want to rush the next five years just to collect my retirement and Social Security benefit. Maybe I'll get there and decide to keep working. Who knows? What I do know is that NOW is the time to savor each busy day, each crazy week, every packed weekend. Now is the time to enjoy my grandsons as I witness their growth and personalities developing in leaps and bounds, to spend MORE time with my kids and really talk to each other as they grow into their 30s and 40s, to realize just how lucky I am to have my sisters and brothers in my life, to appreciate the almost 18 years Russ and I have had together. Now is the time to cherish the friendships of life-long as well as good new friends and to deliberately tend to all those relationships instead of putting them on hold, waiting until this, or that, happens.
Because there are no guarantees.
Love to all of you, especially those who are facing the hardest trials right now. xox