I often have folks visiting the garden who remark about the off the wall stuff we do around here on the weekends. Many ask if I’m hyperactive or simply driven to be “on the go” all the time (uh, no – I’ve talked about my true nature here); others wonder where I come up with this stuff. I will agree that we are pretty fortunate to live where we do; within 2 hours, we can be at the ocean, in the mountains, or one of many destinations that people travel long distances to visit. But really, with very few exceptions, by putting in a little effort, anyone can find seasonal & regional events, state parks, festivals, museums, or the like in their own areas. My biggest resource is the newspaper; I get two daily papers & look not only in the community events calendar, I read the little ads in the margins promoting boutiques or special events, & the lifestyle sections, noting interesting places that might allow visitors. I also peruse magazines, especially regional or family ones, like Sunset, VIA, or Better Homes, for places of interest or special promotions.
That addresses the “how”, but not the “why”. I am by nature a homebody, content with my books, garden, & crafts; but a lesson I took away from my first marriage is that keeping your life & interests very narrow, keeps your personality very narrow. It is a bit of a cliché, but if you stop growing, there is nothing left but to die; quiet appeals to me, boredom does not. So I look out for new experiences, fresh vistas, something to anticipate- that is what makes the day-to-day grind of work foolishness, chores, & obligations bearable. I want to see a love of the arts, music, culture, heritage, & history grow in every member of my family- this was the best legacy given me by my upbringing. Besides, as is typical of most people, there are many places in my state I have never seen. We didn’t travel much in California when I was growing up; therefore, my first visit to Disneyland was at age 30, Yosemite Valley at 38, Lake Tahoe & Mt Shasta just 2 years ago, & I’m slowly making my way around to most of the Spanish Missions.
There is another, equally compelling reason- I want to create shared interests & memories with my family, things we can look back on in years to come, or stories that my children will share with their own children. You see, although we had the advantages of a upper middle class upbringing, my family was rather scattered, slightly troubled, & emotionally distant, so I don’t have much in the way of “warm & fuzzy” memories of time spent together; the only family traditions I brought to my marriage was sparkling cider at Thanksgiving & taking obscene numbers of photographs at every event. I envied my husband’s (both of them) memories of family trips, holiday traditions, & silly rituals; it is especially poignant to hear Chris’ reminisces, since his father died a year before we first met. The regret over what they missed sharing over the past 30 years is enough to break my heart if I think about it too long; so I make a conscious effort to bank up treasure troves of memories for all of us, just in case. Some of the saddest words I know are ones of regret- “We thought about it, but never got around to it”, “Dad would have loved this”, “We’re all so busy- we just don’t have time together”.
Okay, the sermon is over; now get out there & make your own memories- this is the best time of year to find something new & interesting where you live.