Having found myself approaching early retirement felt that despite having been a wife, mother & nurse I was rapidly being dismissed from society. This sense of growing invisibility was shocking & prompted the need to take stock. A chance meeting let to the opportunity of having a song written for me by Danny Wright (an up & coming pop/punk artist from the UK).
Collaborating with Danny Wright was fun as despite the age difference we share a similar taste in music. Ostensibly Drive (4 Denise) is about a road trip but the metaphor relates to approaching the ‘sunset years’ but not in a passive way. The song is a regular playlist favourite on my various travels bringing me joy and encouragement to face what happens next. In sharing it here I hope it may make those who listen feel as inspired as I do to take up & accomplish what ever challenges they may face.
One of the random challenges that I was set included me finally making the powers that be connect our rural bit of England to the world wide web with fibre rather than copper cable. I may live in a 17th century house but this does not mean I wish to live the same lifestyle as I have online bills to pay! The Apple shop staff used to recoil with disbelief when I told them we could only get about 1 meg of download speed (& then only when it wasn’t raining).
I had lobbied via Twitter which did produce engineers & sympathy but not a lot really happened until this week. About a fortnight ago I got chatting to a man with a van on the village green who implied that it was indeed the plan to make fibre connections live.
Seems my incessant moaning finally had bore fruit as sure enough the internet provider was now able to offer me 100meg minimum download. I almost wept with the sheer joy of the prospect of using more than one device at a time & minimal buffering on catch up tv. I could have hugged the salesperson who talked me through the contract – it was like he was singing a love song to me!
So the connection is now arranged and I could let my neighbour who set the challenge know that they too could now connect. Not sure I should really claim it but I won’t tell if you don’t.
The last leg of the 3079 mile road trip involved driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles which involved a lot of driving mainly along the Highway 5.
I had planned the route using Google maps which had been calculated as 3000 miles the difference as it turned out was the unscheduled trips to the ferry terminal in San Francisco. I was duly impressed with the fact that this was incredibly accurate essential if keeping to a daily milage limit & an indication that we had not got lost en route!
Until this point we had many avoided the main roads preferring the more scenic routes but time & distance dictated the need to use the most direct means of returning to the camper & getting the flight home.
My daughter drove the first part leaving me to take over and navigate the intense traffic in LA. While she was at the wheel it allowed me to watch the world go by & mull over whether I had learned anything on our sojourn.
As it happened quite a lot of things had crossed my mind as we had roamed around. I had come to the conclusion that whilst it was fun to hang out with those much younger than me. However whilst it was immensely flattering when a young guy at the festival started dancing with me having told me he ‘loved my dance moves’ it merely reaffirmed my desire to remain young at heart not turn the clock back.
I admit to being a little taken aback at my new capacity to scrutinise some long held beliefs & revise my view point of view. It requires a degree of strength to tap into your inner self, hold your hands up & then admit to yourself that you may have been wrong or misguided. This is however a very liberating experience perhaps should be something that wider society would do well to embrace from time to time?
Personally I found the less judgemental approach of the ‘Millennials’ to be refreshing. Especially as facing impending early retirement I was finding the prospect of being ghettoised into the role of ‘pensioner’ or ‘senior’ or indeed any other of such similar terms to be deeply troubling. However it was on the second road trip of 2018 that the kernel of the idea to set up this blog started to formulate.