Another nice daytrip

Simplicity copyI like to take Mom and Liberty out for the day every once in awhile. As I stated in a previous post, I think of day trips as mini vacations – a break from the usual routine that is good for the mind and spirit. I had seen the sign for Historic Downtown Sanford on I-4 so many times when driving to Orlando and I had recently commented to a friend that it’s strange how we always visit historic sites when we’re on vacation but we forget to explore the ones that are close to home so I decided it was time for a daytrip.

Mom and I are big fans of  “Main Street USA” and “Preserve America” downtowns; they have received federal or state grant funds to renovate and revitalize their downtown areas. I have even planned vacations around “Main Street USA” destinations – Hendersonville, NC and Thomasville, GA are two examples. We like to park the car and walk the main street, free to pop into the shops and eat lunch at an outdoor cafe where we can people watch (and, of course, Liberty can join us!). Maybe because we live in a town where the oldest house was built in the 1970’s and most of the stores are in shopping malls, we enjoy older buildings and the look of an old-fashioned main street. Although neither of us are “shoppers” anymore – we both feel that we have enough stuff – but we like to window shop and see unusual things that the “Big Box” chain stores don’t carry. In Sanford I went in a used book store called Maya Books & Music. Jam packed shelves, piles of books on the floor and tables, and just that perfect combination of organization and chaos that I can’t resist in a book store. I could have spent hours in there but controlled myself and only bought a particular book I had been wanting to read 🙂

Being able to be near water – whether it be ocean, river, or lake – is always a big attraction for me and downtown Sanford is right on Lake Monroe; a huge lake that feeds into the St. Johns River. There is a really nice pathway called River Walk along the lake and the weather was sunny, windy and cool – perfect for a walk. Liberty met two nice dogs – a little terrier/poodle mix named Charlotte who was decked out in a pink rhinestone-adorned halter and leash, and a friendly old chocolate Lab named Bob.

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Mom on the River Walk at Lake Monroe

After our walk we had delicious fish n’chips (although NOT authentic English style!) at the Breezeway Restaurant where Liberty was greeted by many admirers, as usual, and also met a nice dog who was passing by with his owner. We continued our leisurely walk around the small downtown area and stopped at Matties’s Delectable Desserts and bought a couple of yummy cookies to munch as we strolled.

Didn’t cost much, didn’t take a lot of time or effort. Just another nice daytrip 🙂

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Just hangin’ out lookin’ cute 🙂

See more of my artwork and books at Lynda Linke Productions

 

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Small and not so small blessings

Lynda Linke logoJuly 8th will be the fifth anniversary of my “reinvention” journey – the day I retired from the working world and began living life in a different way than I had for the previous 35+ years. Years ago I read somewhere that retirement for “Boomers” is different from their parent’s retirement and that many of us like to think of it more as an opportunity for “reinvention”. That’s a fairly typical Boomer way of looking at things – slightly self-centered and egotistical, goal-oriented, forward thinking, and always striving to be different from previous generations. We’re not going to have our parent’s retirement! Perish the thought!! We might even be the first generation that really didn’t believe we would grow old, or at least the most vocal about it. Remember “don’t trust anyone over 30”? How about The Who talking about “My Generation”? Now that we’re all in our 60’s and 70’s, it’s our turn to confront the challenges of aging and, once again, we are determined to experience it in our own way.

Although I’m sure there are plenty of people in my age group who are happy to spend their retirement playing golf or fishing (nothing wrong with that!), I have read interesting stories about people who are using retirement as a time in their lives when they can create a different lifestyle. Many people have chosen to start a small business after retiring, often completely different from the careers in which they worked for 30 or 40 years. Maybe for the first time in your adult life you’re free to explore interests for which you never had time. You might make a radical lifestyle change – perhaps you always wanted to live on a houseboat or maybe you’re fulfilling the dream you’ve had since you were 18 of traveling the country in an RV. I just read a story about a couple who spent a year visiting all 59 national parks!

Although I can’t say I have created a radically different or unique lifestyle in the way some people have, it is certainly different from the one I used to have. For one thing, the reduction in stress and responsibility has allowed me to change in some important ways. One change, which is a small blessing in itself, is a real understanding that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing at this point in my life. I have accepted my current limitations and restrictions and I’m content. That’s a biggie for me because I’ve always been restless and thinking about the next “thing”. I’m not living an exciting, adventurous life but I appreciate the small blessings of being able to immerse myself in a good book, walk with Liberty, have lunch with a friend, take my Mom on a vacation, go to the beach, get away on my own for a few days and a myriad of other simple pleasures.

I started out 5 years ago with a long to-do list, which is still only half completed. It’s been a small blessing to find I don’t care about accomplishing the rest of the goals I set for myself back then! I’ve learned some things about myself and one of them is that I’m not ambitious enough to be a successful artist or author or to start a business, and that’s okay because an important part of my journey has been learning to accept myself. I no longer feel like I have to be accomplishing something important every day. There are places I’d like to visit, things I’d like to experience and a soul mate I hope to meet before I die, but I don’t have the anxious restlessness I once had about those things – and for a former chronic malcontent that’s no small blessing.

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ~E.M. Forster

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Liberty is thankful for the not so small blessing of encountering NO alligators during her recent visit to Lake Hall in Arthur B. Maclay Gardens and State Park in Tallahassee. 

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