Well people, the sun has risen over a new year, and it’s casting an exceptionally bright beam on my little corner of the world.
I have to say that 2014 was really, really good to me. So good in the work department, in fact, that I haven’t had the time or inclination to blog much in recent months. What a propitious problem to have.
Personally, life is damn dandy, too. First, my 19-year-old son moved out on his own in October. I’ve enjoyed watching him acclimate to his newfound independence, make some valuable mistakes and develop crucial life skills. I’m so proud of his tenacity and work ethic.
I’ve also enjoyed how our relationship has evolved since he flew the coop. I see him more now than I did when he lived with me. (Ahem, I don't delude myself. I know it's because I have food and laundry facilities). His slovenly roommates have given him a new appreciation for my OCD housekeeping and organizational skills. And he goes out of his way to tell me he loves me nearly every time we come in contact. My sweet boy is growing into a fine young man.
An added bonus: I love, love, LOVE living by myself for the first time in my life. Peace and serenity are mine! My house looks the same when I wake up in the morning as it did when I went to bed, which anyone who has ever lived with a nocturnal teenager will tell you is a special kind of awesome.
Living alone makes me so happy that I cannot visualize cohabitating with a partner ever again. I am truly, completely, utterly content as a single lady. That could change with the wind, though — I wrote about my tendency to waffle about dating here. For now, though, singing solo in the choir is just grand.
Another highlight of 2014 — the vacation gods blessed me with not one, but two kick-ass (and super cheap) trips — Florida and New York City. I wrote about my idyllic beach vacation here.
My first-ever trip to The Big Apple at Christmastime was a magical, exhausting whirlwind. I went with a close friend I’ve known for going on 20 years and her two daughters (ages 21 and 17). They are NYC veterans and were planning to go anyway, so I was grateful to be invited along for the ride.
They were magnanimous tour guides, determined for me to see and do as much as was humanly possible in a short weekend trip. I thought my legs were going to fall off by the end of the last day, but the pleasure of the journey far outweighed the pain my lil’ ol’ broken body suffered as a result.
Yep, I’ve officially started a lifelong love affair, and I will not let too much time pass before our next tryst.
I had nothing to do with the arrangements for either of my 2014 vacations; they totally fell in my lap. For a meticulous planner like me, I’m still amazed at how much I liked letting go of the reins. I had no agenda at all and was able to thoroughly enjoy every moment, whatever it happened to look like.
The mystique of New York has always been fascinating to me. It’s the setting for some of my favorite books, movies and TV shows. But, really, I wanted to go simply because I’d never been there.
See, I am not a naturally spontaneous or daring person. I’m not nearly as rigid as I used to be, but you’ll never, ever find me without at least three to-do lists in progress. There will always been a modicum of planning present in my daily living, but my recent, go-with-the-flow vacations demonstrate that I am also quite capable of surfing on a wave of adventure.
It recently dawned on me that the phrase “because I’ve never…” sums up how I want to live the rest of my life. I want to do, see and experience things because I have never done, seen or experienced them before. That’s it. That’s the reason. I want to be motivated by curiosity and nothing more. So whatever or whoever is put in front of me from now on, I’m going to embrace them in all their newness. I’m going to channel Jim Carrey in “Yes Man.”
I mean, for all intents and purposes, I’m entering the second half of my life — I’ve finally figured out what the hell I want to do with my career, and I’m done raising my child. I don’t want to waste any more time waiting on tomorrow to start living.
On our drive to New York (yes, it was a long road trip, but 12 hours in the car is not as bad as it sounds, especially with good music and great company), I noticed road signs pointing the way to Philadelphia. I had never considered visiting the City of Brotherly Love before, but now I think I want to go. Why? Because I’ve never been there.
I’ve decided to get a passport in 2015. Why? Because I’ve never had one, and I’m kind of on a roll with vacations materializing out of thin air. Who’s to say Greece or Italy won’t be next? I want to be prepared.
The next business association, nonprofit or social group that jumps in my path? I’m going to join, volunteer or otherwise get involved. The new classes my trainer is teaching at the gym? I’m gonna try them all, even the one he calls, “Whipped,” the name of which scares the shit out of me.
The new restaurant in my neighborhood? Make me a reservation! Invitations from friends to see obscure bands and theater performances? I’m there! Dude who hits on me inappropriately on LinkedIn? Um, hell to the no. (There are limits here, man.)
Anyhoo, I’m pretty jazzed about my new outlook. This is probably how most people approach life in their 20s (aka before kids). I was busy raising a kid when those “most people” were grabbing life by the balls, so now it’s my turn.
The cool thing about gaining freedom in my 40s is that I am still young enough to party like a rock star (minus the alcohol and drugs, of course) but old enough to stay out of trouble. Plus, I’m not broke like I was at 25, which certainly sweetens the pot and widens the scope of opportunities.
I’m not looking to parachute out of an airplane or climb the Matterhorn necessarily, but if a chance presented itself to do either, I might. Who knows what kind of adventures I’ll get into with this new attitude? I sure don’t. And guess what? I’m totally OK with that. Eep!
Here’s to limitless living in 2015!
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After nine years, she's still just saying.