Early in 2010 I looked ahead to my 50th birthday and tried to come up with something appropriate for the end of my first half-century of life. That’s a pretty big milestone, and I wanted to celebrate in a big way. At one point I wanted to go to a big music festival somewhere in South America, but was unable to line one up with my birthday. And by the time we finally decided on the day we would quit our jobs, I was unwilling to spend the money for the flights. So we kept things low-key and celebrated with a meal at a Hibachi Grill restaurant, and an evening at Wine2 with Klara from Belgium.
So here we are, a year later, and once again we kept the celebration low-key. Philip and Shelley came over for burgers. After that, Philip and I wasted some time letting 12-year-olds kick our butts at Modern Warfare back at his place. We also watched a movie with the wives.
And yet in spite of all these low-key subdued birthday celebrations, I’ve had an amazing year! I think it has easily been the most amazing year of my life so far. What better way to start the second half-century? And in that spirit, here are some of the many amazing things I can recall from this last year when I close my eyes…
Record snowfalls in north Texas in February – dubbed the ‘Snowpocalypse’ – work shut down for an entire week!
Leaving work. Being able to spend all day, every day doing what I want to do, instead of what someone else requires me to do. Priceless.
Homeless and living in our car. Having a lot less stuff to deal with is very liberating. Mental energy and time freed up substantially.
Geology and Geography. Volcanos, canyons, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, oceans, coastline. Arches, hoodoos, mud pots and lava flows. Impressive and awe-inspiring.
Living things. Massive and soaring trees. Bison, wolves, bears, elk, whales, condors and cranes. Forest and grapevines and food crops to the horizon.
Manmade landmarks. The Golden Gate bridge. Hoover Dam. Classic city skylines. Foundations and ruins of two grist mills in Ohio owned and operated by my ancestors in the early 1800’s. Many Dixon headstones in cemeteries from Ohio to Illinois.
Amazing people. The traveling kids from France. The wonderful staff at the Ancient Way Cafe and Campground. The birders at Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge. Bryn’s high school classmate from San Bernardino. Cass and Jim in Napa Valley. Angie and Rand in Seattle. Deb and Mike in Wyoming. Kat and Dell and Jessica in North Dakota and Minnesota. Jim and Mila in Chicago. Bryn’s sister Athlynn in Michigan and her cousin Sue Greene in Ohio. My cousins Dave and Debbie in Iowa and Laverne Beam in Kansas. DeeAnne and Park in Oklahoma City. They took us in, they wined and dined us. Thank you!
My dad’s 80th birthday.
All of that, and doing it and seeing it with my soulmate!
For many that would be an entire lifetime’s worth of memories! And yet for us, it is only the first year of (hopefully) many to come full of travel, adventure, amazing sights and people. Thank you for following along with us, and here’s to a great 2012. I hope it is wonderful for all of us!