My feet feel like bricks and look like balloons after walking 6000 miles—give or take—over the last three days all over D.C. We toured Mount Vernon today. In the museum, there is a simple exhibit with a fireplace, a wooden chair, and a box of letters. George Washington wrote Martha hundreds of letters during the times when they were apart. After he died, she burned all but three. My daughter couldn’t grasp why she would do such a thing. It did not occur to her that this woman who lost her husband would simply desire to keep their private sentiments as a couple, private and separate from the stories we would be telling for generations about our first president and the father of democracy.
At the end of the day, our tour guide, Lisa Pickel, gave the most inspirational speech to the kids. She said she hoped this trip gave the kids the desire to travel and the inspiration to do great things. She shared that she had traveled to more than 50 countries (67 if I remember) and every state in the US. She’d sky dived numerous times and walked across Spain (I really wanted to ask if she’d thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and if she knew Tick Tock, because all those gals must know each other, right? Right?) She told the kids that they would be asked over and over again what they wanted to be when they grew up…and that she was forty and still figuring that out. She told them to think big; the whole world was within their grasp.
I gotta say, I envy this woman. I too am nearly forty. I have a very successful career and have been doing it for over ten years. I get to travel too, but beyond convention center, hotel, and boardroom, I never get to see much more than the view from a taxi cab. I have been across the country twice and on three cruises, to Mexico and Grand Cayman. On each one, three of seven days had passed before I relaxed enough to enjoy it. I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful daughter and can honestly say getting (and keeping) them both was a huge accomplishment. So I am happy with my life, but…
But…what did I want to BE when I grew up? What did I want to DO? I wanted to be an author. I wanted to publish my first (and second and third…) novel. I am so excited that I will realize my dream finally one month and one day from today. (You can Pre-Order it now.) But if I had heard Lisa’s speech twenty years ago, ten years ago, it might not have taken me so long to do it.