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Proceed With Caution:  I Can’t Drive 55

By Lori Welch Brown 

Proceed With Caution:  I Can’t Drive 55 

It’s my birthday month!  Get all your, ‘I can’t drive 55’ jokes out of the way now because I am turning the double cinco.  I know.  Hard to believe based on my outward youthful appearance, razor sharp wit, and hipster ways, but it’s true.

And, our wedding anniversary falls the week before my birthday.  Against all odds, and perhaps a few bets, looks like XXL and I are going to make it to lucky number seven.  I married later in life so I compare it to dog years.  In my book, XXL and I are actually on Year 49.  Not gonna lie, some days I feel like I’m turning 85 so this is a distinct possibility.  Luckily, those days are flanked by the days I think I’m 24.

Gifts to mark the occasion of a seven-year anniversary are copper and wool which represent warmth.  XXL said he fancied the idea of presenting me with copper knitting needles so I could knit him a wool scarf.  Me thinks he needs to head back to the drawing board.

Given the unprecedented year we’ve all experienced, I’m running unabashedly toward these milestones.  I’m ready to blow out some candles, wave my arms in the air like I don’t care.  It’s good to have a milestone to celebrate, but it’s also a good reminder that regardless of what’s going on, there’s always cause for joy and celebration.

XXL and I were married at The Tides Inn in Irvington, VA.  It’s one of our fave spots, and we try to get back there as much as possible.  The Inn exudes southern hospitality.  Over the years, we have grown to think of the staff as friends.  Due to COVID-19 and other conflicts, it’s been a few years since we’ve been, but we are planning to celebrate lucky number seven with a few days of R&R there.  It will be wonderful to see our friends, and I cannot wait to stand in the lawn where we exchanged vows.  I can practically feel that dessert menu in my hands.

When I think of all we’ve missed out on thanks to COVID, our capacity to make memories is what has hit home the hardest for me.  Not to take away from the memories we made around our own backyards and dining tables, but most of our memories are of things that transport us to another time and PLACE.  So, let the memory making begin.

In addition to our anniversary get away, I’m treating myself to another trip for my birthday.  I’m splurging on a creativity retreat in Santa Fe which has me excited—like Christmas morning excited.  I’m going to attend a workshop with one of my idols, Julia Cameron.  I’ve long been a fan of Julia’s.  Her classic book, The Artist’s Way, has been a mainstay for me over the years, my go-to resource whenever I need a creative pick me up.

Visiting Santa Fe has been on my bucket list for quite some time.  I’ve heard such good things, and I am so excited to immerse myself in the beauty of that part of the world. Hopefully, it will still be safe to travel, and I can go take in some new sights, eat some great food, and meet some cool people.  The view outside my own window is lovely, but this girl is ready for a change of scenery.

I’ll be doing this trip solo. I was nervous at first, and actually extended the invite to a few writer/artist friends whom I thought might enjoy exploring Santa Fe with me.  Although there was interest, no one was able to pull the trigger.  I’m taking that as a sign.  I’m going to use the trip as a time to reflect, restore, and rejuvenate.  I’ve always found that when I’ve traveled alone that I return home with a renewed sense of self-confidence.  Bonus:  I’m sure XXL will appreciate a break from me…absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Maybe I’ll learn to knit while I’m away so I can work on that copper scarf.

As I’ve made a few trips around the sun, I’ve begun to put more value on the gift of time with the people I love.  Rather than opening a present, I’d rather a friend invite me to coffee or go on a road trip with them.  I’d rather travel or go to a concert for an experience vs. opening a gift.  Unless of course it’s books or art supplies or paper of any sort.  Now you know all my addictions.

Heck—who am I kidding?  Bring on the gifts!

September has me feeling very blessed with loads to celebrate and commemorate. I’m wrapping myself in a blanket of gratitude—just not a copper or wool one.

But enough about me.  What gifts are you giving yourself this month?  Help me celebrate by doing something kind for yourself.  Practice some self-care.  Take yourself on a day trip.

We all need a change of scenery every once in a while, and we need to find things to celebrate.  Important milestones like birthdays and anniversaries aside, it’s important to celebrate the little wins too.  Were you able to stick to your exercise goals this week?  Cause for celebration!  Did you make it through your first week of classes?  Celebrate!  Find something to celebrate this month.  Raise a glass on my behalf, and I’ll raise one back atcha from wherever I am.

Happy birthday to all my fellow Virgos and Libras!



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