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This Is (My) Fifty, Part 2

I have to say, for being as distressed as I was about turning fifty, I sure had a memorable day.

We got up at 4:00am, showered, and headed to the Knoxville airport during the worst part of a line of thunderstorms rolling through the area. It was a white-knuckle drive and wet leaves were blowing everywhere (as well as covering the streets), which added insult to injury because I knew that traction wouldn’t be good if I had to brake suddenly. I even drove over a downed power line (oops) before I realized what was happening. It wasn’t live though; I’m pretty sure if it was, I would not be writing this post.

We arrived at the airport and lucked out: we found a parking space inside the garage as opposed to on the top deck, which is what we had to do last time we parked in long-term. I was ever so thankful we didn’t have to struggle with our 45- and 35-pound suitcases and two carryons in the blowing rain.

Om the way to the gate we stopped at Starbucks so Jim could get his coffee and I got my free birthday Pink Drink.

Our first flight, to Chicago, was uneventful and quiet. I was suddenly starving upon landing, which was surprising since we enjoyed fruit and yogurt parfaits from the Starbucks in Knoxville. After I thought about it I realized that I’m ALWAYS hungry when I return to Chicago.

We enjoyed Reggio’s pizza at O’Hare at 7:30 local time and I’m not sorry about it at all.

It was great to be back in Chicago for a few hours, even though we never left the airport. I laughed a little bit because I was wearing a sunny maxi dress and flip flops while nearly everyone else was dressed in black and gray layers.

On the second flight, to Portland, I got started watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and was blown away. Many of my friends have told me that I would love this show, and they were right! Highly recommend.

It was a long flight and once we arrived in Portland I was hungry again. It was 1:30pm local time and 4:30pm Knoxville time so we weren’t sure if we were eating a late lunch or an early dinner but it was another memorable birthday meal: Gorgonzola waffle fries, drinks (lemon drop martinis for me, beer for him), and salad because balance.

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FYI we did not finish this plate of fries. Not pictured: our salads. Seriously: we ate salad too!

Our third flight, to Maui, was about six hours long and by this point in our day we thought it would never end. We actually flew Alaska Airlines to Hawaii. That felt strange to me, which is odd because I never felt weird about flying Southwest Airlines ftom Chicago to Florida. Anyway, I got some sleep and watched some old episodes of “Will and Grace.” When we finally landed, it was 9:30pm local time and 2:30am the next day Knoxville time. We were exhausted, but when we left the plane and walked through the terminal I was re-energized; one side of the walkway was open to the outside (!!!) and I could smell flowers. It was so surreal and lovely, and perked us up just enough to get to our nearby hotel, where we plopped into bed an hour after landing.

I can’t imagine having a more memorable 50th birthday, or a longer one: due to our traveling across multiple time zones my birthday got 3.5 bonus hours.

Just like I thought, I was right about nothing changing with Fifty. All of that angst was for nothing, so I need to remember that for the next time I’m in high alert during a transition and if you’re anything like me in the Brain Department, I recommend you do the same. I’m not saying everyone needs to go to Hawaii in order to ease the mind; just moving on with normal activity and removing the focus from all the worry does the trick.

But Hawaii couldn’t hurt.