A 40-Somethings “AHA!” Weekend Away

Many times we coast through life blinded to the lessons waiting at the end of each moment. Despite being slighted, they simmer there for as long as it takes us to collect them for later consumption. And it’s a good thing, since allowing a lesson to shift our thoughts for personal growth is only possible when we are good and ready. I’m at a point in my life that I make sure to meditate after each experience to pull as many lessons possible I can from it…you know…for safe keeping. By doing this, I ensure that my experience was both a memorable one as well as purposeful, no matter how small or insignificant the moment seemed.

This weekend was surely a purposeful one. The type of trip that I knew would be an “Eat, Pray, Love” revelation (except not alone) even before it started. So, as I sit here on the plane going through some heavy turbulence, I reflect back on the last couple of days.

This was a well deserved and long overdue trip with my girlfriend of 18 years. Just the two of us away from our respective lives, offices, and families.

  • Friendship: A time to bond, reminisce, uplift, gossip, vent, and laugh. One where we could remember who we were, how far we’ve come, discuss where we both missed the mark and help each other see where we hit the target. A time to catch up and ask questions and realize that sometimes you don’t always know someone as much as you thought. What a beautiful opportunity… to know you could keep learning things about those most important to you. That who you were and who they were 18 years ago, or 10 years ago or even 5 years ago is not the same person in it’s entirety, but that the essence of what has kept our relationship as strong as it has through all these years, is still unquestionably in tact, and we allow these new revelations to keep the friendship fresh and exciting. “How did I not know that” or “did you tell me that and I just forgot” can be common questions among all types of relationships, be it friends, lovers or family. I take what I know, or reminded, or recently learned and embrace the details as another little charm to our friendship bracelet. And who doesn’t love those cute little charms, that create such a sweet sound when mixed all together.

This trip also enlightened me toward…..well, ME!

  • Self: Spending most of your everyday life surrounded by work, husband, kids and home, you usually conclude that the life you lived prior to having all of these things can’t be enjoyed anymore. That going out for drinks in a dark crowded bar with strangers, staying out until “last call”, trying to have a conversation over the ear-splitting sounds of huge subwoofers, does not fit your “lifestyle” anymore. And hence pops up the adage “I’m just too old for that”, which is a stupidly depressing thought. But, it turns out, we weren’t too old for it after all. We pushed through it reminding each other to relive good old “28” again. We didn’t feel out-of-place. We didn’t feel awkward. We looked great, felt great and we had a blast. And despite feeling every achy bone in my body the next day I wouldn’t take back the night before. But…. I’m happy to say that the issues is not that I’m too old for that lifestyle, the enlightening moment is that I don’t WANT to party that way anymore. I don’t really yearn it or miss it. The realization is that I truly like being who I’ve evolved into now in my 40’s, not because I NEED to live this way, but because I enjoy my new self and along with it the interests that have flourished. I love sitting by the lake and taking in my surroundings, I relish in browsing through antique shops with my husband, I look forward to eating out at new restaurants trying different cuisines. I want to go to quaint art exhibits, and book readings, and exploring tucked away towns. I plan fruit picking outings. Search out winery tours.  And finding the perfect cafe that serves gourmet coffee, tea and pastries (none of that typical bakery stuff found on every corner) is like striking gold. And as for you 20-somethings…. just know that you’re never too young for my “lifestyle”.

If I have to pull yet another lesson it will be this…

  • Other folks: Sure, I was the only one that got away from the normal routine of the every day. And yet, Big O and the boys seemed to have benefited as well. I was excited for Big O to have the bed all to himself and allow the room to get as cold as he liked, without me complaining that I was turning in to an icicle and who could live like this. Not to mention the constant nagging I do for him to turn over in hopes to stop the unrelenting snoring that keeps me up all night. I was relieved that the kids had a chance to have an all-boys weekend without mom constantly reminding them to put their pants on, or that the sofa is NOT a trampoline. They all got to live as freely at home as I did in a hotel room. People (even kids) need time away from each other. They need to realize that life is not always about other people being there with you or for you. Another well-known adage “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” is unmistakably accurate. We all need a break from what we know and need time to miss each other (no, not in a Ross and Rachel kind of way). Time-away allows us all to feel connectedly refreshed and renewed. You just may find it heartwarming to be welcomed back home with the cheers, smiles and kisses as if you’d been away for months instead of just 4 days.

Now, on to plan the next getaway!


— The Pretty Platform.






Surprise, Surprise, I Didn’t See THAT Coming!

Things have been hectic lately. Between work, home renovations, the kids and all that they require to survive and thrive, daily chores, spending time with Big O (that’s my husband for those that don’t know) and just trying to be me, life has been a whirlwind of just….stuff….lots of stuff to do. It’s been like this for quite some time, so in the spirit of trying to keep my sanity, for my 45th birthday I treated myself to a trip. A trip away from everything I know to be my normal everyday life. A trip away from the home, away from the chores, away from work of all kinds. A trip away from the husband and kids. Did I forget to mention that there’s a dog too? Yeah, away from her as well. A long overdue trip with my Bestie for a Ladies Only weekend. (I really hate using the term “girls”. It’s a thing with me). In all my planning leading up to today, yes, I’m sitting here at the airport waiting for my flight to be called in about three hours (hey, better safe than sorry), all I could think about was how glorious it’s going to be to sleep in late. How awesome it’s going to be to wake up in the morning and not worry about getting breakfast done for the little ones even before I have time to brush my own teeth. What a treat it’ll be to just sip on some coffee and do whatever the hell I want in the morning, from reading the news to just staring at absolutely nothing while absorbing the peace and quite that surrounds me. And how nice it’ll be to fall asleep in a bed where, well, to put it simply, no one is snoring. This is all I’ve been thinking about for the past month. Daydreaming about these 3.5 days of re-energizing, in a Seven of Nine Borg kind of way.

Counting down to today, last night I had to make sure that any loose ends at home were tended to if I wanted to leave worry free. Tidy up the house even though I knew all too well that the four men in my house will undo all that I’ve done, to just put it all back together right before I get back home. I needed to make a Target run to get the seven year-old an orange shirt since tomorrow the first graders are going to be the orange part of a human rainbow at school for a PBS event. How he didn’t already have an orange shirt in his closest is perplexing. Red, he has about 5 red shirts. Who needs that many red shirts? Iron two cute outfits for the two smallest ones to look presentable for their trip today with Dad for Take Your Kids To Work Day. Yes, Big O bravely ventured to take BOTH boys to the office. I needed to make sure they had snacks, their gadgets plus those life-giving chargers to make today a bit easier for him. I also needed to put together a nighttime routine mommy video for Big O to play for the kids at bedtime. Clearly you can understand why I need to get away for a few days. And wait, I still needed to finish packing.

Kids asleep, loose ends handled, teenager content in his room, dog oh so pleasantly plopped on the bed. Big O settling in to the dining room to do some writing. Then it happened. I didn’t know it was going to happen. It just did. I didn’t really think about it. It’s not like it was festering. But I was suddenly compelled to ask O if he minded to do his writing in the bedroom while I packed. He laughed and asked if I was lonely. No, no, I wasn’t lonely. I hesitated. Then I sheepishly explained that I was going to be gone for three days and although I didn’t think I was going to miss him in all the excitement of my trip, but, well, the thing was, that as crazy as it sounded, and believe you me, I was surprised as well, that I already, at that moment, started to miss him. Can you believe it? He too seemed surprised, pleasantly surprised, big grin on his face surprised, “But you haven’t even left yet”. I know, weird huh? Here’s the thing….Big O is a lot of fun to have around. He jokes around, loves to laugh and is skilled at almost any topic of conversation. He loves life just as much as I do. He’s my friend.

Moral of this story, I was humbled by this sweet, touching moment. Don’t get it twisted though; I’m still happy to be leaving for this short trip. I still look forward to the much-needed “me” time. I believe everyone needs time away. But it reminded me that in between all the chaos of errands and work and chores and kids and husband and dog, there are things that make me truly and deeply happy right there at home. I need to slow down and look past the dust cloud of errands and work and chores, to enjoy more time with the kids and husband and dog. More importantly, this moment reminded me that I don’t necessarily WANT to get away and that in itself is probably the most reassuring thing I NEEDED at this moment.

— The Pretty Platform