Our Year of Living Adventurously
I’m sure my wife would agree that when she married me 26 years ago today, she had no idea what she was signing up for. Poor woman. But lucky me.
On that unseasonably cold, early spring day over two and a half decades ago, standing together in the outdoor gazebo at the Saddleback Inn in Lake Arrowhead, we said our vows before God, my favorite uncle (who just happened to be a Presbyterian minister) and a handful of family members who drove up the winding mountain roads through pea soup fog for the event. Sometime later, as we planned our future plans and dreamed the dreams of the just-married, we promised each other that upon reaching our 25th anniversary, we would celebrate by taking a trip to Europe, specifically Austria and Switzerland.
Surely by then our kids would be grown and independent. Surely too, my upward career path in the ad biz would have provided enough financial stability by then to afford such a romantic getaway. Surely we would have the time to relax with an overseas trip in celebration of a quarter century of wondrous wedded bliss (we were newlyweds, okay?).
But as Leslie Nielsen once said in the movie “Airplane,” “Don’t call me Shirley.” I’m also reminded of the sage Yiddish saying, “Man plans, God laughs.” If so, they must be holding their angelic sides and gasping for air in heaven.
I’m pretty sure we were at least right about our kids. Yes, our four progeny are healthy, independent, wise beyond their years and, for the most part, well on the way to realizing their own dreams of family, faith, careers and a fulfilled life. May it be ever so. Amen and amen.
As to my career? Bwah-hahaha. Chortle. Guffaw. Snort. Titter. That’s a good one. You know that steep, upwardly mobile rise to a creative corner office on Madison Avenue West I mentioned above? It quickly began looking more like a dive off a steep cliff not long after I left the ad (mad) agency world and went freelance nearly 16 years ago.
And so, a year ago our 25th anniversary was upon us and there was no way in financial fantasyland that we would be going on any European adventure. I mean, if we couldn’t afford the gas to drive to San Diego, flying to St. Moritz was absolutely, ridiculously out of the question.
So instead of letting the 25 year milestone pass like “just” any another anniversary night out with a nice dinner, some flowers and a card – we decided to celebrate in an unusual way for an entire year – by attempting to complete 25 low cost, semi-local mini “adventures” during the 12 months until our next anniversary. (Yes, ladies, I did the dinner, flowers and card routine, too. I may be challenged in the disposable income department, but I’m not stupid.)
One year later, how’d we do on our adventure quest? We made a valiant attempt, to be sure. Although we didn’t quite make it to 25, we came awfully close, including making several long bike rides (one as far as 65 miles round trip from Duarte to Long Beach and back), an attempt to summit Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the continental U.S., cross-country snowshoeing in Mammoth Lakes, hiking to the top of Mt. Baldy, riding with the CV Weekly team on a “float” in the annual Montrose Christmas Parade and quite a few others. It has been an adventurous year, to say the least.
So how are my wife and I celebrating our 26th anniversary today? Here’s a clue: it isn’t in the Alps, but it does involve the Matterhorn. And even though the gas to Anaheim will cost almost as much as airfare to see the real thing, can you really put a price on true love? (Men, the answer to that one is “Absolutely not!” Got it?)
I’ll see you ‘round town.