“It makes you look 10 years younger!”
Okay, maybe I wasn’t buying the entire 10 years younger thing, but in the ‘you’re-as-young-as-you-feel’ camp, I was certainly ready to pitch my tent.
Diane is a keeper, a genuine as they come!
Yep, the same Diane who splashes my blog with comments on a regular basis. You can see pictures of Diane in our latest escapades while apple picking. She’s one of a few loyal friends when it comes to encouraging my latest obsession. Talking about you too, Joan! Besides sharing the same birthday, Joan and I share a love of travel.
Family members pipe in from time to time, with my sister Lynda definitely leading the pack (my cousin Kathy and my daughter Jennifer are running a close second), but then our shared DNA always puts their objectivity in question.
Let’s get back to Diane’s ‘makes you look 10 years younger’ remark; it’s at the heart of today’s post, which I promise to get to . . . on the next page.
Okay, enough about me. Let’s get to you!
How can you feel 10 years younger? I'm not prepared to give up Diane!
The answer is simple: TRAVEL! Well, this is a travel blog; you had to know that was coming. Travel can’t be any more expensive than Botox, right? That was not the voice of experience.
Really, aside from a new hairdo hastily achieved by sweeping my bangs off my forehead with a hair clip in a vain attempt to deal with that ugly in between stage when said bangs are too long to fall neatly across my forehead and too short to sweep to the side fashionably, there’s always travel.
Of course, I could opt to learn to play the piano, write a one-act play, volunteer in Africa or learn to sky-dive. And I may get to all of those aforementioned options before I run out of time and money. My bucket list does seem to be getting heavier rather than lighter.
Time, or at least our perception of time, is why travel has the potential to keep you and me feeling young. Looks are highly over rated in our youth oriented society. Spend six-weeks in physical therapy recovering from a back injury and looks will fall on the wayside as you find a new appreciation for just feeling young again.
I spent the morning yesterday babysitting my granddaughter Grace. At two and a half, she only has to travel to grandma’s house to experience that sense of wonder that comes with new surroundings, new experiences. She lives for every single waking moment; bored is a concept for which she has no experience. Few grandparents need convincing the joy of seeing the world anew through the eyes of a child.
My first few days in Maui, I couldn’t quit giggling (I think the last time I truly giggled was during the movie in health class covering human reproduction; thank heavens for the darkened room!) for the wonder of it all; the smells, the color, the landscape, the culture. Time seemed to slow (apparently novel places do set us back, neurally speaking; it takes our brains longer to process new experiences, which in turn makes time feel elongated, at least according to neuroscientist David Eagleman) as Jim and I spent entire mornings absorbed in walking the beach; those mornings seemed to stretch as far as the sea. We enjoyed long afternoons exploring lava fields and lunar landscapes and lush tropical rainforests.
I remember savoring every day, every moment because it was new, because I was engaged with the wonder of it all; the beautiful sing-song sounds of the Hawaiian language, the gentleness of her people, the savory, fresh food so abundant on this tropical isle. Nothing has ever come close to the taste of fish tacos at Cool Cat’s in Lahaina.
Obviously I didn’t get out of the classroom much for those thirty-some years of teaching. Maui was how Jimmy and I celebrated my retirement from teaching. I was just as guilty as the next worker bee all those years, too preoccupied (exhausted might be closer to the mark, juggling a family and a job) to truly appreciate what the world beyond my little corner had to offer.
If Maui taught me anything, it’s that we’re a busy bunch, we Americans living on the mainland putting in 60-hour work weeks, having it all, doing it all, sometimes at the expense of the wonder of it all. That is the voice of experience.
It’s funny, but possessions no longer mean as much to me as the chance to travel does; new sofa or a trip to Iceland – no brainer; anniversary wedding band or a River Cruise down Europe's Danube – no contest.
Contrary to what Hollywood might have women believe, diamonds are not this girl’s best friend. Travel makes my eyes sparkle, my smile genuine, my outlook fresh each day. Coping with the new experiences of different cultures, different people, different foods, habits, religions, mores apparently slows my perception of time; I get more out of each moment, each experience, each new destination. Life is full! I feel invigorated; young again (barring of course the transatlantic flight while scrunched into an economy class seat for eight hours).
I can’t make up for lost time, but I can make the most of the time I have left. I figure I’ll get twice as much out of every waking moment (well, it’ll feel that way) inviting spontaneity. Time truly slows to accommodate my engagement when my brain and senses are in the midst of yet another new travel experience.
No slow decline for me, one day blending into another in front of the television as the four walls close in and I wait for my bangs to grow out. I may not get to choose how or when I die, but I’ll be damned if I’m not choosing how I live.
Where's that hair clip?