Due to a misspent youth and several car accidents as well as genetics, I have a bad spine. When I was 35, my chiropractor said to me, “you have a lovely spine for a 70-year-old woman. Don’t take up skydiving.”
Funny he should say that. I have always wanted to skydive. I know I would be terrified, but the exhilaration of doing it would counteract the pre-event fetal position. I was supposed to go skydiving with my best friend when I was 20, but she up and died on me. I never forgave her and not just because of the skydiving thing. Nobody should lose a best friend to death at 20. But that’s another story.
There’s a Facebook meme going around to the effect of What’s the Dumbest Thing You Ever Did? And the person answers, “Awfully bold of you to think I’ve peaked.”
That would be me. My life is a handstitched colorful quilt of dumb things. From the men I allowed myself to be engaged to, to the cars I bought, to the multitude of shoes I own.
I am not a minimalist in the least. And is my favorite word. It extends to experiences, things, people, you name it. My house is a depository of keepsakes and memory aids.
I remember most of my mistakes fondly. Sheryl Crow wrote a song with the line “You are my favorite mistake.”
Some people think the raiding of my retirement account for two blowout vacations was a mistake. Perhaps. Ask me when I’m 70 and living on social security.
But right now, I don’t think so. I’m dreadfully strapped for cash these days and inflation and gas prices are not helping, but I have no buyer’s remorse. I run through possible solutions to solve the cash crisis, but nothing realistic surfaces. I just need to suck it up and pay off some debt. But there’s a great big world out there full of things I’ve never seen and never done. It’s a siren song.
Three years ago today, I checked into the resort on Ibiza — Destino Pacha. I went to attend my son’s and now-daughter-in-law’s wedding.
Spain was a very good vacation. One of my best, but I’m not sure it was the best. That might have been Hawaii in 2017.
The Spanish Notebook
Spain, however, was my most unusual vacation. I went alone. To a foreign country with very little grasp of Spanish. I went to attend my son’s destination wedding. I also used the occasion to celebrate my 60th birthday.
I had never traveled alone for a vacation. There have been business trips and solo sojourns in hotel rooms, but never a whole vacation. I was giddy. I was excited. I was scared. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for it all. Usually, I had someone to share costs with.
I was alone.
My mother could not attend my son’s wedding due to failing health. It’s a long trip and she was just not up to it. My ex-husband was in the process of being diagnosed with a debilitating disease and was physically incapable of making the trip.
For the Hawaii vacation in 2017, I thought I had pulled out all the stops. I took my mom to places we hadn’t seen since 1970 when we lived there. We had a full list of things to revisit and see again. I made a notebook itinerary with detailed plans, flight schedules, hotel reservations, daily agendas, etc. It was pretty OCD. It saved our butts a few times.
That notebook was so successful that there was no question I would have one for Spain.
The Spanish Notebook ended up being more than 100 pages and was spiral bound for me by a friend. I mapped out everything. I had only two weeks in Spain, and I was determined to do and see as much as possible. The wedding was only going to occupy me for about 2 days before the happy couple went about their honeymoon. (And who wants their mom/mother-in-law on their honeymoon with them?)