Today is my birthday; I am 63. I’m thinking hard about it this year because Robin Williams was exactly my age and he’s gone, and my cousin Jamie is exactly my age and she’s very ill and struggling to survive. I’m thinking of death once in a while now, and I never did before. I guess it comes with the territory.
Jack and I planned for such a long time for this life, saving money, learning, preparing financially and mentally. Looking back though, I wish we had gone sooner, and it’s not like we didn’t hear that often. We had the usual excuses — we couldn’t afford it, was the most common one — but really in retrospect the advice we read from successful younger cruisers was smart: go now, go small. The older you get the more comforts you require as a basic minimum and it all costs money. If you start out younger you can go in a more basic, and therefore less expensive, boat, RV, whatever.
About a month ago as we were leaving happy hour at Banana Bay we saw two touring bikes parked in the breezeway, thoroughly loaded and obviously on a long journey. We met their owners, a young honeymooning couple from Spain who had pedaled across the US from New York to Oregon, then south to Costa Rica. They were on their way to Brazil and beyond, and talking with them started the wheels turning in my head. A cross-country bike ride has been a dream of mine for many years but it looks like that line on the bucket list is going to remain unticked. Or maybe not. None of us really knows what’s around the corner.
Last year I couldn’t have imagined that I would be spending my birthday on a mooring in Golfito, Costa Rica. “We live a strange life,” I say to Jack periodically, and I said it again yesterday on the bus back from Paso Canoas, the Panamanain border town we’d gone to to check out of and back into the country to renew our tourist visas. Turns out you can plan all you want, but you still have to roll with the punches.
If I believe anything, I believe that every place you go, every encounter you have you are exchanging electrons with your environment, so that you and the place or the people are a little bit changed for your having been there. I’m grateful for all my new electrons and I hope the ones I’ve shared bring positive energy to the places we’ve been and the people we’ve met. And I vow to remain open to whatever new experiences life brings us.
The sun is up. Time for some birthday yoga. Carpe diem.