Miles and Milestones

Our lives are full of milestones and mine is really no more special or better than others. But my husband and I have reached major ones and we decided that we needed to celebrate by putting on the miles.

We all hit milestones in our lives, we learn how to walk and talk, go to kindergarten, learn to read, graduate high school, go off to college marry, have kids, and watch them go through the  same milestones. But this year is special and frankly hard to wrap my mind around. Not only did my husband, best friend, partner in everything and I celebrate 38 years of marriage (wow almost 40), we celebrate BIG birthdays. Lee turned 65 at the end of May and I’ll be 60 next week. Holy cow! Where did the time go? Except for really bad knees and the grey hair I cover up, I’d never know I’m 60, unless I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Of course, if I say so myself, I really don’t look 60.

Since, with a summer birthday, I’m one of the younger ones from my high school graduating class, I’ve been watching others celebrate their 60th on Facebook and thinking, “wow, look how old they are”, but wait a minute, so am I. So what does turning 60 mean to me? First of all, when I look at my family’s lifelines, it means I could potentially live another 25-30 years. So maybe, I am not so old after all. But you never know what will happen tomorrow. So my plan is to start having more fun and enjoy the miles I’ve yet to travel. My husband and I started celebrating our big birthday year by getting in the car, traveling over 1300 miles, and checking some items off our ( well mostly his) bucket list.

We planned a trip to Colorado Springs and Santa Fe, New Mexico. We put in a lot of windshield time and are still happily married. Our trip was full of awe and wonder. This was actually our second time we driving out west as Lee dropped me off in Tempe, AZ. for my senior year in college. We camped in a pup tent on our way out but don’t remember being as enamored with the scenery as we were this time. Most likely the difference in age and maturity makes a difference as the first time our love was newer, we were heartbroken at being separated, and our eyes were mostly on each other . Now in our mature years with a deeper love for each other, we took joy in sharing the beauty of the world together.

We drove to the top of Pike’s Peak with our hearts beating so loudly we could almost hear each other’s. I thought I’d lose Lee right there and wondered how I would ever be able to drive down the mountain myself. We visited charming Manitou Springs, people watched, picnicked by a fresh mountain creek, and enjoyed the best iced coffee and raw cacao candy. We dined in Old Colorado Springs with some cousins and checked out the local shops. We visited the Garden of the God’s and ogled the natural geological sculptures. We then traveled to Santa Fe, where we visited galleries, met the nicest people, ate the locals’ favorite spots, went hiking through cliff dwellings, and visited some turquoise mining towns. Our days were filled from 8 am to 8 pm, when we would finally collapse at our adobe VRBO and watch the beautiful sunsets and twinkling stars over the clear mountain skies.

My husband always wanted to go white river rafting in the west so I agreed even though I was sure I would die of a heart attack. ( I admit, I am not the bravest person in the world.)  Obviously I survived or I wouldn’t be writing this  long blog. It was AWESOME!! The spectacular scenery along the Rio Grande enthralled us as did the quickly flowing river full of rapids and boulders. The guide and our fellow rafting partners made the trip even more enjoyable as they assured me I wouldn’t fall out. Again, I survived.  We hit a Class III rapid and I slid slightly into the raft off the side. As I tried to right myself we hit a huge boulder on my side and I went over. I couldn’t grab onto the rope on our raft and went right by them. I tried to grab the next raft but missed that too. I still held onto my paddle for dear life and tried to hook it onto the paddle of the guy trying to rescue me since I couldn’t reach his paddle with my arm. That didn’t work and eventually they got close enough that I could grab his paddle and he pulled me into the raft. Once in the raft, I raised my paddle and yelled with elation “Happy Birthday to me.” I celebrated another milestone and lived to tell the story which was caught on a Go-Pro by my rescuer. The whole rescue was merely a matter of a few minutes.

I don’t feel that turning 60 made me wise or privileged, except for the senior discounts I now receive. Age made me more mellow and I don’t sweat the small stuff. I find that each beautiful sunrise and sunset add joy to my day as do the flowers in my yard and others, my dog greeting me at the door, my husband selflessly doing me favors, and the sound of the children playing. I look forward to more fun and traveling miles with Lee as we explore our world, near and far. Oh, and apparently age gives me the right to babble.

Enjoy a few of our pictures.

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