Later this year, I shall be celebrating turning 62. My hope is that I shall be celebrating in South America. It will be the first time that I have ventured to this area of the world. Marriage, motherhood, career, caring for parents... I have been busy in my life, but now I find myself with the time and financial means to live out a few dreams that I have carried with me for longer that I would care to admit.
Twenty months ago, my father passed away. I, along with my sisters, took care of him in his final months. Those were heavy months for all of us. Draining mentally, emotionally and physically. Then add the grief of his death to all of that. I would say it has taken me 15 months to simply get used to his absence and recover from the exhaustion that resulted. His passing has given me a lot to think about. Primarily, of mortality and secondly, of how I would like to live out my remaining years. (I'm thinking that I have at least twenty good years ahead of me.) He travelled a lot during his lifetime, and enjoyed sharing his stories with anyone who cared to listen. Many people did care to listen. His passing has also given me the financial freedom to travel. The sale of my parents' home has left me with enough money to take a glorious adventure. Almost as if it was his final request of me, "Go live out your dreams and share your stories."
Right now, I have more time for myself than I have ever had and I will soon have more. Next week, I shall be retiring from my job in the local government. So I have been planning. Researching exotic destinations but also covering the boring details, such as travel insurance. I won't pretend that I can't wait, I am in fact getting more nervous with each passing day. Stepping out to discover new worlds feels difficult at the age of 61, and sadly, in the world that we find ourselves in today, I am a little nervous of travelling as a minority. I am a woman of Indian descent. How will my skin colour affect my experiences? Will ageism play a role? Or just simply being 61 and not used to such adventure, will I run out of steam? But this is something that I really want to do and luckily I have the support of my daughter and grandchildren.
My father had a great influence on my children, inspiring them to make those great leaps forward in their lives, whilst I was doing the mundane job of keeping things ticking over. I now find myself to be in a position to inspire my grandchildren. The combination of old dreams brought alive by new possibilities along with thoughts of sending postcards home, has led me to hit the button and book my ticket. I can't quite imagine what will lie on the other side of the long plane journey but I can clearly picture the small hands holding on to picture postcards, and the bright eyes reading about their grandmother's highlights abroad. Let's do this! (As my grandson has encouraged me to say.)