“Someday” begins with a day just like today.
No one knows this better than Sunny Lockwood. This morning I”m happy to introduce you to Sunny in The Voices of Wisdom series. Sunny reached out to me and said she thought Aging Abundantly readers might be interested in her story. I agreed! I hope it is as much of an inspiration to you as is was to me. There is no time like the present to live the life we’ve always dreamed of living. It can begin today. After all someday is just a day like today.
My husband and I have always been sort of workaholics. Like others with fulfilling lives, we dreamed of things we’d like to do someday (perhaps when we were older and life had slowed down a little).However, on a Sunday evening in July in 2012, as we waited at a red light, our life changed dramatically.
It was a perfect evening. The blue sky held a golden sunset glow. We’d been to the beach earlier and the pounding surf still filled our heads as we waited for the light to change.
Suddenly, a texting driver slammed full speed (60 mph) into us, totaling both cars in an explosion of glass and metal. I’ll never forget the grinding, screaming metal as her SUV tore through the back end and then the side of our Toyota Carolla. Although seatbelted, we were tossed about as our car crumpled.
Both vehicles were totaled. Fortunately, we suffered no broken bones. But we were bruised and banged up, and our summer was ruined as our days filled with doctor appointments, wrangling with insurance companies and trying to find a replacement car.
We ached for weeks.
I complained loudly about drivers who fool with their phones, wishing I could get them all arrested and thrown in jail.
But my ranting gave way to the awareness of how lucky we were to be alive.
If we had not been wearing seat belts. If our airbags had not inflated. So many ifs. Yet, here we were. Alive.
The realization that life is fragile and brief changed our lives. It woke us up.
We realized anew how all the little gifts we take for granted — the sweet fragrance of roses or lilacs, the welcome chill of ice cream on a hot day, the comfort of prayer, the pleasure of a kitten’s purring, the delicious smell of newly cut grass or fresh-brewed coffee — all these everyday blessings can be snatched away in a moment.
You can be doing nothing more risky than sitting at a red light, and the next moment you could be hooked up to monitors in a hospital, or lying cold in a morgue.
Everyone knows the truth that life is temporary. But until we take that truth seriously it’s just a distant theory as we rush through our busy days.
Al and I suddenly took that truth to heart. As we focused on how lucky we were that the wreck didn’t kill us, we decided to start doing some of the things we’d dreamed of doing. It’s not like we had great life goals we’d been putting off. But we both enjoy travel, love seeing what’s over the next hill or around the next curve in the road. We’d camped up and down the west coast.
And for years we’d toyed with the idea of taking longer trips, perhaps a cruise to somewhere interesting. But we’d talked about such travel in a dreamy, someday sort of way.
Now, feeling grateful to be alive and whole, we decided to actually take part in that “someday” travel.
First on the bucket list was a cruise through the Panama Canal. Al is a retired engineer, and he’d dreamed of going through the canal (one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century) since he was a child.
Online research revealed a 17-day cruise through the canal that we could afford and we signed up. The trip from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale was fantastic.
Traversing the famous canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic in the same way ships have been traversing since 1904 was a thrill beyond compare. The trip was so amazing that we actually wrote a book about it: Cruising Panama’s Canal, savoring 5,000 nautical miles and 500,000 decadent calories.
So what began as a dream come true trip, grew into a writing/publishing venture.
Cruising Panama’s Canal was named an Amazon #1 best seller in 2014 and continues to sell in both paperback and ebook formats at Amazon.com
Since that first cruise, we’ve taken other wonderful trips and have written three more travel memoirs.
One of our books, Cruising the Mediterranean, was named an Amazon best seller in two categories: Senior Travel and Venice Guidebooks and Travelogues.
Readers from around the world have written that they love our books. We’ve been asked to talk about our travels at retirement communities, senior centers, book stores and service clubs.
Making our travel dreams come true has been fascinating and fulfilling. It has led to new endeavors — writing our travel memoirs, speaking about our travels. And our adventure continues as we schedule more trips and write about them.
We write to encourage others. Everyone carries dreams within their hearts. The dreams may be small or large, but often they remain lodged inside. Al and I want to encourage readers to grasp those dreams and make them come true.
Whether it’s earning a college degree, or traveling to a far away place, we encourage you to do it. Do it now, while you can. Tomorrow is not promised.
Believe me when I say that making a dream come true is deeply rewarding. How satisfying it is to achieve something you’ve always dreamed about. That accomplishment comes with enriching memories and stories to share. And you can never tell where your dream will take you.
Ours has taken us on cruises and tours, to book stores, libraries and travel clubs. It has enlarged and enriched our life as we’ve shared our travels through our books and presentations.
Who knows where you’re dream will take you?
A few photos from our trips:
SUNNY LOCKWOOD has been a newspaper editor, magazine editor, daily newspaper reporter and newspaper columnist. She holds degrees from San Jose State University and Santa Clara University.
AL LOCKWOOD is a retired electrical/mechanical engineer. He is a fine art film photographer, a ham radio operator and an enthusiastic traveler. The sweet photograph of Sunny & Al, at the top of the page, was taken in an Athens coffee shop in 2014. Al and Sunny had ducked inside to escape a sudden downpour.
Visit Sunny’s website
Connect with her on Facebook.
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