Arriving in Sydney Australia early yesterday morning just as many of you were waking or going to sleep yourself, we flew into a gorgeous sunrise and the beginnings of a journey I never imagined I would take.
While I have long had a list of 50 Things To Do Before I Die, trips Australia and New Zealand were not included. Travel is there of course, but closer to home and more familiar than the other side of the world to where I was living in Athens Georgia when I began building my list.
Looking back I have to wonder if some of the things on it were limited more by the idea of practical obtainability than the scope of my imagination.
Don’t get me wrong … there are some pretty far-fetched ideas written on that wrinkled piece of yellow legal stationary such as my desire to write a speech for a US president or play the cello like some of the musicians I had seen on stage.
Many dreams I imagined important in my 20s no longer matter and there are new ones taking shape in ways I could not have foreseen when I created my list in the late 80s while finishing my undergrad years and preparing for the birth of my daughter.
Turning 50 a few months ago, I realized that I needed to close the door on certain dreams. It seems very silly now to mourn for a lost life as a dancer when I never even had ballet lessons as a child. Truth told, I have such trouble picking up steps that I was always a disaster in any musical audition that required dance and early lessons probably would not have changed that.
Speech writing for the president is another dream that’s not likely to happen as people develop whole careers as speech writers, a path I do not wish to follow. And while cello lessons and practice would improve my skill with the instrument, I wish for smaller things with it now such as solo pieces I can play with ease for myself.
It did occur to me while I was sitting and thinking during our 22 hour flight to Sydney that a writer has the best career because they get to be anyone and do anything in the stories they create.
After seeing treetops filled yesterday with loads of large bats in a park near our hotel, I wondered if the Wright brothers had studied the bat and its wings when considering how to cover the wings of airplanes while dreaming of the possibility of flight.
Which led me back to who I really am as I began crafting a story outline involving Orville and Wilbur Wright. I may not have a pilot’s seat on the flight deck listed on my list of 50, but I can fly all of the planes in the stories I write and the possibilities are really much larger than that old list ever was as long I stay open when the opportunity presents.
This two month trip with John is one of those opportunities and I am wide open to possibility.
If this is what ’50’ looks like, I can’t wait to get there in two years, you’re an inspiration! (Of course, I also need to find a husband as handsome and kind as Sean Connory….I mean John!)
New Zealand is definitely on my ‘bucket list’, so I’m looking forward to seeing pics!
I think one of my main problems is that I have never had a list…. not for anything .. Whatever has happened in my past just happened .. like having children, getting married, I am not sure if I had any dreams at all. I do now, but think it is a bit late .. for some of them , or maybe just not practically possible.
I look forward to reading all about your fantastic trip with John and seeing your photos too.:-) I am sure you will have a super super trip 🙂
Elizabeth, I think you have opened a lot of eyes with this piece. I too have let my life come as it may for the first fifty years (wow, fifty years!). I have never had a lot of goals except to raise my children and hope I make it to 50. Now that it is here, I think it is time to make plans instead of just letting them happen. Johnny and I will celebrate our 30 year wedding anniversay next summer, and I have requested that my toes be in the Caribbean. He said to book it and he would be there. Mark that one off my bucket list. Here’s to the next 50 years!
I think the point about realising that we limit our thoughts by resrticting he possibilities is key. If you’d told me this time last year that I’d have done what i’ve done in the last 10 months, i’d have laughed in your face – don’t be daft. BUt i have – so there. Dream wacky, and follow those many who act whacky..and you find your feet are in a different place than if you’d only tried to make them go there all by themselves.
I love to read your words and view your photos. Thank you for inspiring me, and opening my eyes to possibilities.
Hope you are having a great time in Australia! In case you didn’t know, Qantas has grounded all their Airbus A380 planes. Hope that doesn’t affect your travel plans.
I am just catching up with your blog, after being slammed the last few days. I have always wanted to go to New Zealand – well, ever since I saw The Piano, some years ago. I look forwarding to reading more about your adventures!
New Zealand is also on my list…have a great time!
What a fantastic way to celebrate 50 – to have time and space and opportunity to look both backwards and forwards all at once and the same time. Am following carefully..