Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back from Vacation

Celebrating my "Silver Jubilee"

I took three weeks off this summer to travel with two friends for my "silver jubilee" celebration of my 60th birthday.   We drove across the U.S. to the redwood forests of Northern California, then caught up with two alumni in Lake Tahoe, then spent three days in Yosemite.

The trip reinforced many ideas I have.  First, we live in a land of great abundance: cropland, trees, natural beauty, wildlife, energy resources, and people.

Second, money is just a form of energy according to my business coach, Christine Kane. The happiness experts advise to buy experiences and not stuff, if you want to be happier.  So, I tried to circulate as much money as possible on this trip to buy memorable experiences: nicer hotel stays, expensive meals, excellent wine, and a boat ride on Lake Tahoe. I want to thank my friend, Carol, who could not join us, for giving me a very big check that enhanced my ability to spend during this trip.

I did buy a fabulous ring from one of the last turquoise mines in the world, which is located in Tonopah, NV (Queen of the Silver Camps), also the location of a new BLM-sponsored solar power project.

Third, you cannot put three accomplished, smart, independent, opinionated, menopausal women in the same car for three weeks and not expect some conflict.  I'm just glad we love each other enough that our friendships survived the trip!

Fourth, while the simplicity of the western landscapes -- which emphasize mountains, rock outcroppings, desert, and big skies -- are dramatically beautiful, I still prefer the green fields of the mid-west and the lush forests of the East.

Fifth, I have no regrets about the life I have lived.  If we had driven over the cliff at Yosemite (as we nearly did), I would be proud of my influence on the world and of the life I have tried to live with love and integrity.

Sixth, even at 60 years old, I still have so much to do, say, write, teach, learn, and contribute.  What will the next decade hold for me?

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