Life from a Different Perspective

As my husband and I get ready to celebrate our silver anniversary, I am immediately brought back to one of the most amazing anniversaries we have ever had. An adventure second to none but, an adventure that immediately brought us back to reality.

At year 20, I wanted to do something special. Something unforgettable. I never loved to fly but he loved it. He had mentioned a number of times that he would love to take helicopter lessons. He talked about how he wanted to go up in a helicopter. I was never a great flier but i know it’s the best way to get where you need to go so I grin and bear it because, at the end of the day, I love to travel. Besides, a couple drinks never hurt to take the edge off either.

He was shocked as we lifted off, exploring the coast of Newport and the incredible mansions. We were soaring 500, 1000, 2000 feet above the beautiful Cliff Walk. It was amazing! We were in awe of the beauty all around us.

Here’s the switch of perspective. As we walked through the door after an incredible 48 hours, the news was reporting a bombing at the finish line of the Marathon. Our city was under attack, terrorism had struck again, and the joy, excitement, and amazement was washed away by horrible people with an unthinkable agenda.

This switch of perspective made me appreciate all I had even more. Two great kids, a strong marriage, and a love of country that still makes me tear up at the National Anthem.

Silent Lucidity

Our latest adventure took us about 300 miles west to a small venue that let us relive the late 80s/early 90s. A place that gave us the opportunity to be up close and personal with an old favorite – Queensryche.

Like most “Class of 80-something” teenagers, hairbands were a key to life. A staple in our daily music choices. Recently my husband and I began going to see these old favorites any time they come within driving, or sometimes, quick flight distance. We were lucky enough to see Queensryche open for the Scorpions a couple of years ago and it reminded both of us how much we had loved them. When we found out they were going to be in upstate New York, why wouldn’t we jump in the car and go? New York was as close as they were coming and we weren’t going to miss it.

As Silent Lucidity rang out – my all time favorite Queensryche song – I truly listened to the words and finally understood Silent Lucidity. An unspoken clarity.

Ripped right from the lyrics, “Visualize your dream. Record it in the present tense. Put it into a permanent form.” The life of an empty nester…the time in your life when the dream is being lived to the fullest. The time when you can clearly see where you are going and where you have been. There’s a sense of calm and peace – moments of lucidity that come more and more often.

Well worth the 600 mile road trip to acknowledge what we have come to understand – clarity for our future; a future beyond parenthood.

Reconnect

I want to create a buzz, a revelation, an a-ha moment that can change someone’s day; maybe even their life. It’s going to be called – “Put down your phone.”

Right now each and everyone one of us is holding a device, me included, focusing intently on what’s going on, who’s doing what, and what our extended network of “friends” are doing but – WHY? Why are their lives so much more interesting, fun, or important than what you could be doing?

I will never disown my device or stop scrolling my feed or checking my email from the road but, I am go to look up more without a device in my hand or within arm’s reach. I want to reconnect with those that I can touch and feel and not those that don’t even know I’ve been watching their lives unfold. I want to continue my journey of self discovery through my own adventures and interactions.

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc have created a false sense of connectedness. Ask yourself this question – when you see someone post to social media and think “wow, that’s cool” or “hmmm, I’m a little worried about them” – if you saw them out in public, would you go out of your way to let them know? If you answered yes, then good for you. If not, it’s time to reconnect. Live your own experiences, care about what’s going on around you, and enjoy.

I hope your buzz, your new year’s “revelation” is all about disconnecting, unplugging, and having true social interactions. It’s going to be mine.

I’m Not From Around Here

Have you ever played I’m not from around here? My guess is you haven’t because I think I made it up. But now, it’s your turn to play!

Next time you’re up for an adventure or searching for something to do, pick any town or city close by, even your own, and pull out that phone that is probably already in your hand.

Search “best things to do in ________”.

Typically on the top of the search, Trip Advisor pops up. Of course, some of the things you already know will pop up if you are searching local but not all the time.

Search for whatever you’re into – show me the top five restaurants; show me the top ten historical sites; show me the best hiking trail. You get the picture…type in your want and presto – a new adventure, a new special spot, a hidden gem. We’ve been steered to some of the best places to hike or take a walk, to have lunch, or even just to explore.

Trust me, they’re all not gems but what do you have to lose? Life is about the adventure! Find it, run with it. You only go around once, make the most of this new found time. The life of the empty nester!

Sunday Funday

What’s Sunday Funday you ask? Sunday Funday is whatever you make it! Sunday Fundays for us all started when both the kids started working and would be gone all day long on Sunday.  With one working at a grocery store and one working at a restaurant, there was no chance Sundays would be family days. Sundays used to be a day of sauces simmering or roasts cooking but as the kids got older and older, there were less “sit down” dinners and more thinking about getting out and grabbing a bite to eat.

My husband is a pizza fanatic but, not just any kind of pizza…bar pizza.  The kind of pizza that has very little crust and the cheese and sauce reach all the way to the edges of the pan.  Our first Sunday Funday found us checking out the little bar on the way home from my mother-in-law’s house. Since our first delicious bite, what I came to find out was that the best pizza always was at the biggest dive bars. Don’t ask me why, I don’t have a clue. What I do know is that for at least 6 months, I tried every bar pizza within a 50 mile radius. It became our adventure…watching Phantom Gourmet, scouring the internet, asking friends – where should we go?

Whatever your Sunday Funday includes remember, it’s all about the adventure. Getting to know one another again. Chatting over a cheap beer and a slice of pizza. Just like the good old days, long before kids and long before an acquired taste for fancy dinners and speciality cocktails.

Value Every Moment

Getting everything ready for Christmas, I pulled down the box of ornaments ready to hang many of the same ones for the 24th or so time – the tiny painted handprints, the bead wreaths with a kindergarten picture tucked in the middle, the snowflakes cut by safety scissors with preschool hands.

Each and every one of these precious memories bring a tear to my eye. Partly a sad tear but also a proud tear. Sad because there aren’t any new handmade ornaments getting hung in the tree, those days have passed, but proud that almost 25 years later, my boys still love the traditions. They still make the time to help us trim the tree, now taking over the duty of stringing the lights. They look forward to seeing a candle in every window as they pull up to the house, and this year, we were fortunate enough to bring back an old tradition of heading north to choose and cut our own tree.

My heart is full – my empty nest was crowded for a fun-filled 24 hour journey to find the perfect tree. Lots of laughs, lots of connecting, and new adult memories that I will cherish just as much as those handmade ornaments.

It All Started with a Beer

It’s quiet.  Really quiet.  The house is clean, the weekend chores have been done, there is nothing left to do…now what?  We were searching for something to do; anything to do. When there’s no soccer practice to race off to, no homework to fight about, no big dinner to cook, you become a little bored; a little “empty”.

“Let’s go grab a beer.”

Seems simple right? Pop in to a little bar and grab a drink. No way, that’s boring. Where’s the adventure in that?

Mooselick Brewing - New Hampshire

It seems that there is a new brewery popping up in every city and every town. Your mission is to find one. Which one is closest to your house? Which one is closest to your in-laws (because everyone needs a drink before family gatherings)? Which one is a little out of the way but worth the adventure?

Every city or town we visit, whenever we have time to spare, we search for breweries in the area (google maps rocks for this!). Do I love every one I’ve ever tried? Nope, not even close but, what I have loved is the experience. Talking to the brewers, chatting with other visitors, reading the stories about how each and every one of them came up with their name.

There are almost always games to play, tours to go on, music playing, and snacks that pair perfect with whatever you’re drinking.

Plus, the added bonus when you have no little ones around…there’s always a baby at the brewery.  Always…every time.  But, it makes sense.  It’s not all about the beer.  It’s about getting out, socializing, supporting a small business owner, and talking to people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It’s a welcoming place where parents even feel comfortable bringing their kids.

Do you need to be a beer lover to have fun and seek out these places? No, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Cheers!

What? You have free time?

As a young Mom in her 20’s, I would tell you that I never had free time.  Time to reflect on what I liked to do, what I loved to be a part of, and what made me smile.  In hindsight, now that I have time to get lost in my thoughts, my like, love and smile all came out of raising my kids.  Everything about being a mother – from the mundane to the rip-your-hair out – was who I was and what I was all about. I loved being on the soccer field every weekend even when it was 40 degrees, I smiled from ear to ear while eating McDonald’s french fries at the Playplace, I liked working on school projects even though I always seemed to be racing to Walmart at closing time for one more piece of posterboard.  It was who I was and I embraced it.

Now, as a 40+ year old, professional woman, there was plenty of free time and I’m not one to sit still.  I had to figure out what to do with all this “extra” time.  I started asking myself – What do you like? What do you love? What makes you smile? I already knew that I loved to travel but what else? I love being outside no matter what the weather as you’ll find out in my other adventures.  I always smile when I’m with friends; they make me feel complete.  I like entertaining. Put those all together and our Brewhouse was born. A place right in our own backyard to enjoy time with our friends, a good drink, and a place that feels far away.

The root of my like, my love, and my smile will always be my boys but, there’s so much more. So much more that makes me who I am and the discovery of that person is half the fun.

 

The Adventure Begins

Image result for dice
Follow where the dice lead

“Roll the dice.”

“What?”

“Roll the dice.  It’ll determine which way we head then, how many miles.”

“What? That’s crazy!”

“Come on…even number we go North; odd number we go South.”

“Fine.” One die spills on to the coffee table – 4.

“North it is.  Want to roll another?  Even we go West; odd we go East.”

I was intrigued and, to be honest, a little excited.  Second die rolled onto the table – 2.

“Northwest it is! Now, 2 more.  If we get less than fifty, we’ll add a 1 to beginning; more than fifty, it is what it is.”

Another 2…a final 1.  The adventure began – 121 miles northwest.  Just get in the car and go, maintaining NW as often as you could.

This was the day that our Roll the Dice Adventures began.

What I learned through this first exercise in self-discovery was that #1, I love to travel, it doesn’t matter where.  There is something exciting, interesting, and breath-taking at every turn – just look for it!

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Mount Kearsarge – New Hampshire

 

Who knew that this beautiful view was just a 2 hour drive from home?

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