Saturday, August 11, 2012

Turning 40

The big 4-0 was approaching. My children were moving on, the years had flown by and I felt like I had misplaced my "self" along the way.
I could not imagine how to go forward.
Then I got an invitation from my mom: "Horseback riding in the South of France...?" I missed being with her, she lived far away and we both loved to ride.
I still need her inspiration and want her approval (although for the most part I still ignore her advice...) so with visions of mild fall weather, fields of lavender and sunflowers, a casual meander through vineyards, great food (a little wine) and quality time spent together, we sent in our money and booked our flights.
I have always loved to travel. When I finished High School I had planned and prepared to go off and see the world. Having kids and getting married was not part of that program; we had a second child and moved to the country.
Over the years I waitressed, bartended, picked apples, taught kindergarten, worked in a hotel and sold real estate… any job to pay the bills yet still allow me to hang out with my children. They had brought me hope, joy and meaning, but having reached the point when it was time to let go, encourage them find their own way, I also had to move on. I had a good marriage and a beautiful home. What more could I want?
I still yearned for adventure; a riding trek in the south of France could be the perfect opportunity for me to reflect on my life and to look ahead at what might come next.
Mom and I met at Charles De Gaulle airport, and made our way to Paris on the Metro. European travel is so much more interesting when using public transport, especially since I had packed far too much. Of course, I needed my riding stuff: boots, chaps, helmet, pants, gloves and a good light jacket. I had decided against bringing my foul weather gear, assuming a plastic rain poncho would do. Besides, we were going to be in Paris and Florence... fitting in lots of nice clothes and a cute pair of sandals was more important, I thought at the time.

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