I sometimes wonder how I got to be here. In my 40s, married to a 43 year old man (seriously?!), with children who are to varying degrees feeling the pull away from us into their own lives, and still with so much to do.
It is easy to put your head down, and get on with the daily routine. Breakfast, school bags, lunches, work, dinner, pay bills, bed … and repeat.
Months, years and decades can pass by like that.
Sometimes I get frustrated about the things we haven’t done. The holidays we haven’t taken, the fortunes we haven’t made, the experiences we haven’t given our children.
For all that has happened and hasn’t happened, the reality is that we are still in the driver’s seat.
Although I’m not much of a car chick myself, but I seem to have men around me who are quite into their cars.
My grandfather, Hedley Barker, was a Car Man. Whenever he was remembering something from the past, it was always the reference to which car he had then that would anchor it for him. And he owned some pretty cool cars in his time.
When I was dating Dean, he was the proud owner of a bright red Commodore. I don’t know what type, other than that it could do a seriously embarrassing burnout at the front of my high school on the days that he picked me up.
And Bayley can send me into an involuntary coma as he attempts to share his knowledge of the seemingly never ending details about this car model and that car model.
Over time, fun cars have been pushed aside for the practicality of sensible adult family life. Dean has ended up driving an old reliable car for work, and we have the van for family outings, and a little run about for me.
There is of course the motor bike, but I think if you’re really a car guy, then all the motor bikes in the world, still won’t quite hit the spot.
Then, last year, Dad took the plunge, and bought himself a 1968 Chev Impala. There is a seriously cool story about why he chose that car.
Just last week, I heard him describe it to someone as “a tribute to Brenda, for her having put up with me for all that time”. Cue sweet heartache.
In the months leading up to the purchase of Goldie (the Chev), Dean did a lot of the homework with Dad. Many many hours were spent looking at a multitude of old cars.
Which means, of course, Dean has reignited the flame of his love of cars. And now, his eyes are on Ford Mustangs, to be specific.
As part of his birthday gift recently, I had organised with a fab local business to give Dean a drive of just that.
A 1966 Ford Mustang. If you are on the Sunshine Coast, and would like to do the same, just click on over to their page and get booking!
We met the owner at Coolum, and Dean, Dad and I jumped in, and off we headed.
Dean drove from Coolum to Mapleton, where we stopped, and enjoyed a relaxed beer enjoying the views back to the Coast, before heading back.
There was one moment where I felt a little suspended in a time warp between 2015 and 1992. I was looking at Dean’s foot, as he changed gears, pushing the gear stick down to 4th gear with his palm as I have seen him do so often. In that instant, I could feel him enjoying the rumbly noise of this unique machine, and having the control of it in his hands. It was like a glimpse of the Dean from decades ago.
I would have paid just for that one moment, which made the other hour or so, a beautiful bonus.
Last Friday, I caught up with Dad for lunch. He shared about how he had a bad night recently. He woke up and was sure he heard Mum calling him saying “Graham, it’s time to go home”.
I asked him, if you had a choice Dad, and it wouldn’t affect anyone else, would you choose to stop living here to be with Mum? He got a bit choked up, and said that as much as he missed Mum and really wanted her back, he wouldn’t want it to be for her how she was towards the end. I said, what if the option was you going to be with her. He said “Nah. I’ve got more living to do. I’m not going anywhere until my time is up”.
And isn’t that the truth.
We all have more living to do.
So, grab the wheel of your life, and get driving!
Or as the character Andy Dufresne says so eloquently to Red in the Shawshank Redemption “get busy living or get busy dying”.
What can you do, to get busy living?