View of the Peninsula from the cliffs of Rancho Palos Verdes
I have learned that checking off the things on my BUCKET LIST and really actually following through, can take me waaaay out of my comfort zone. So when we started planning our little YaYa weekend, it was fun to hop on board the planning train but when we actually seemed to have to say if we were “IN” I panicked. It is one thing, posting the more flattering pictures of ourselves and sharing only the happiest of times, on our Facebook pages than actually spending a few days with our special old friends that we have connected with. Facebook is a funny thing. It allows us to paint a picture of just the things we want to share. You share bits of your vacations and funny or uplifting things, you over share pics of your kids and then grand kids expecting everyone else to find them just as amazing as you do. But you don’t share your mistakes and regrets and definitely not your fat pictures! Sooooo agreeing to share four full days with friends you have not seen for forty years is a bit out of my comfort zone! But to my surprise I agreed. And I am from the old school… if you commit to something, you follow through.
Since I lived the closest, I volunteered to drive down with my car so we wouldn’t have to rent one and I’d be the designated driver. As I picked each old friend up from the airport, we thankfully just slipped right back into a comfortable place that must have been especially preserved for this exact occasion. There is a different kind of appreciation for friendships that have out-lasted almost a half of a century. And it was funny, each friend had a special place in my heart. Especially in the re-connection as we bonded through messages. As we shared our stories, it was different than when we were kids. As High School friends we thought we knew EVERYTHING about each other back then, but we really didn’t. It was nice to share and listen to one another’s stories of our triumphs and failures, and just all of our history that came in-between forty years.
We spent hours catching up. Each having our own stories of joys and heartbreaks that life brings. All of us coming into our own with the wisdom of our experiences. One thing I know we kept commenting on was how privileged we were to grow up in such a beautiful place and wondering if we really appreciated it back then as much as we do now. I think we all just took living so close to the ocean for granted back then. This weekend we spent a lot of time on a memory tour. We visited each of our old houses and all the places that held special memories for us. Our parents were a big part of a lot of our memories, especially the ones no longer here. We all recognized their mistakes maybe more openly than ever before, but could appreciate where they came from and loved them for the good they brought to our lives. Hopefully our kids will do the same for us someday, forgiving our mistakes and appreciating our efforts. For I know that I’ve made many mistakes in my lifetime, but I think this trip helped me to let go of what I cannot change. We tried to stay away from the obvious stuff, politics, religion, etc. Funny though, we all met at church and were part of a youth group. The only thing I shared was through all of my ups and downs, mistakes and heartbreaks, I’m not sure I could have survived without my faith. I KNOW I couldn’t have.
I think what I took away from this experience was that we need to really realize when we are happy. To live in the moment. And as my daughter has taught me, to not always have to take a picture, to put your camera away and just live in the moment and embrace it. Even if for a second. To forget about the past or the future. To forget about the finances and the ailments, to forget about what may be or what may not be and to really just take a picture in our heart of the seconds we are feeling happy. When I went to Seattle a few months ago with my daughter (a BIGGIE checked off of my bucket list) and we were all standing in our grandparent’s home. I felt it. The acknowledgment of the moment! I remember thinking… “I am standing in my grandma’s house! WITH the two people who can reeeeally understand how much it means to me. Because they made it happen! I think I knew that this last weekend was important for all of us, for so many reasons and we needed to make it happen. I remember several moments that I embraced that feeling of being happy in those seconds and really acknowledging it. And you know, we don’t need to go on a trip to find it. Sometimes it is just spending time with your kids or husband or going out to lunch with a friend or finding that perfect song on the radio and singing your heart out and really just deciding to be happy. Being older brings a wisdom of appreciation that we lack in our youth. and being okay in our own skin. I loved that we were all happily married or happily single. We loved our kids or were perfectly fine not having kids. Those of us who had grand kids really were finally into being grandmas. Whatever it was, was. And as I get older, I’m not as sad as I used to be when something is over because I had a part in making it happen and now I have the memories!
The Four YaYas at our favorite Restaurant…. The Admiral Ristys in PV
(I’m the one on the right.)