middle aged road trip
I’m not sure when it happened but it did.
Only a moment ago, the three of us sisters were making the familiar trek back to the family homestead in a sputtering secondhand Datsun B-210, bantering back and forth in the way that only sisters or good friends do, with backpacks of clothes and books, snacking on potato chips, pop and Swedish Berries while harmonizing with James Taylor and Carole King to assure them that we, too, would be there if they ever needed a friend.
And the next minute, three decades later, the banter is as lively as ever as we pack up one sister’s stylish new Mazda with our luggage sets, a trendy Goldie-Poo, our specialty coffees and gluten-free goodies. The minor differences are hardly noticeable and time seems to stand still as we listen to a reunion concert of James and Carole and commenting on how well their voices are aging. For a moment, we are in our twenties again.
But as we fly down the highway, the dream of stopped time is interrupted by the wind screaming through a frantically opened window in the back of the car as one sister has a hot flash that leaves her feeling like she is stranded in a desert wearing a snowsuit. The other sister who is driving is cradling the steering wheel, hunched up and over it to relieve pressure on her lower back and yelling over the wind and music to tell the hormonal power surge victim in the back to the close the window and she’ll turn down the heat. Unable to tolerate the noise level, I turn down the music just as I get an incoming text. Unfortunately, my arms aren’t long enough to hold the phone far enough away to read the tiny print so have to locate my reading glasses in the bottom of my bag.
That’s when it hit me. I’m on a road trip with the freaking cast of the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood!
But when did this happen?
We got older. Apparently, it happens. We got older but we’re not old. My grandmother is almost 101 years old so, if genetics play a role, we’ve got still got half a lifetime to go.
Despite the hormone-induced ‘tropical moments’, the stiff joints and the need for more than just fashionable eye-wear, we are very much the same as we were in our twenties. We each have resilient zest for life, a healthy contempt for being told what to do, a creative sense of style, a humorous take on life and many roads not yet taken.
Now we also have a more elegant energy, an understated wisdom from the many paths already taken and the confidence to make this trip anything we want it to be. Less ‘shoulds’ and more ‘coulds’.
We also have the charming audacity to make the sign of devil’s horns and declare this an adventure, in the raspy voice of an aging rock-and-roller, “Road Trip” all the way there and all the way back. Just try to make us grow up and grow old, I dare you!
Just wait, hold your dare for a moment, just until after this hot flash passes.