When I was about 35 years old, my best friend Sue and I decided we needed to set some goals to achieve before we reached the age of 50. It seems like it was only yesterday that we we riding on that mechanical bull at Jack's Rodeo Bar and Grill having a very serious discussion of what we wanted from life and what we wanted to accomplish before that ominous, dreaded age of 50.
Recently, my oldest son called to inform me that he was celebrating his 30th birthday. I tried telling him that he had the wrong number and I was going to hang up the phone. Despite my best efforts to persuade him that I was only 29 and therefore couldn't be his mother, he wouldn't budge. Later that day I got out my calculator and did the math. It was true - I was going to be 50 years old.
I was running out of time to complete my list. Jeeze, I didn't even remember what was left on the list. After tearing up my closet I, found the bar tab from Jack's Rodeo on which I had written my list 15 years ago . Sue and I each listed 10 items to experience or accomplish by age 50. I had only 2 items left and after a quick phone call to Sue, I learned that she had the same 2 items left on her list.
Together we checked one of those items off the list. Neither of us had ever been horseback riding. So we went to Half Moon Bay, California and rode horses or at least she got to ride a horse. I'm not so sure the animal I rode was a horse. I'm thinking it might have been a donkey. Sue insisted it was just a very short horse and I needed to be more appreciative of how thoughtful they were to give me a horse to match my height. There was a group of about 10 of us and once we were all mounted, a guide led us to the beach.
The horses were very well trained. All of us in a straight line, nose to tail, no one wondering off the trail. When we finally got down to the beach, I was supposed to get the thrill of a life time. Each of us were to leave the posse, one at a time and race the horse down a stretch of the beach. I sat there waiting for my turn, envisioning myself galloping down the beach in the surf, my hair flying behind me.... All the other riders in front of me were living that dream, surely I would too.
Besides being short, my horse must have been either mentally or physically challenged (or both). There was no galloping. There was no hair flying. There was no "being one with the horse" and bouncing up and down in perfect rhythm.
I had gently used my heels to encourage it to move along and the damn thing turned around and bit me and then (to add insult to injury) WALKED down the shore line for 100 feet, stopped and threw me off his back. Imagine my disappointment.
My final item to tick off the list - I have never, ever been on a motorcycle. Sue says that the one I paid a quarter to ride in front of the grocery store does not count because it never left the merry-go-round it was welded onto. While I was really bummed that it wasn't a sanctioned ride, it did bring my youngest son and I closer together.
He just happened to pull into the grocery store parking lot at the same time I was riding in my merry-go-round motorcycle. He tells me now that he is a much stronger person and that he knows I was only expressing my love for him when I was shouting at the top of my lungs, "I'm Kristopher Fenley's Mother!" while enjoying my ride.
In fact it's my youngest I have to thank for making the arrangements for me to reach my final goal before I turn 50.
There really is a genealogical purpose to this posting. Set goals for not only for yourself but for your research projects as well. Make the time limit you set realistic enough that you can achieve them with a little effort and imagination.
I have to go, my son paid the guy for a 30 minute ride and I still have 10 minutes left.