Fortified by the visit with my college roomie and her daughter, I set out for the next part of the “Golden Ticket.” I loaded up Mustang Sally and hit the open road toward the Carolina coast. My parents bought a small condo in what had been a 1960s red-brick motel – complete with knotty pine paneling! I’ve basically grown up there. Think of it this way – when I started going there with my family, I thought the lifeguards were grown-ups. Then I had crushes on them. Then I was their age. And now, I see them as tan children. Safe to say, it’s been a number of years. But this would be the first time I’d been to the beach since my mother passed last April.
I packed heavy, making sure to take painting supplies, groceries, books to read, and sample sizes of indulgent salon goodies. Oh, and clothes. I wasn’t sure what I’d like and I wanted to be sure I had it. The secret is to enjoy the drive – it’s part of the trip. (On this one, I spotted three hawks and an osprey.) Once you arrive, get set up (make the bed, stock the fridge, and be sure to get that coffeemaker!), have a strong cup of coffee on the porch swing, and start treating yourself like company. For a few days, there’s no schedule to keep. Absolutely none. Aside from a few crucial numbers, I made a pledge to not answer my phone. Setting an alarm? No way, no how.
So what did I do?
I painted. I walked barefoot on the beach. I finally made it to the Kindred Spirit mailbox and left a note I needed to leave. I cooked a lovely chicken and lemon pasta dinner. I shopped at my favorite consignment shop and scored big, replenishing my spring wardrobe. (“New with tags” is the Holy Grail of thrift style shopping!) I met my French fairy godmother for coffee one morning and we got very honest with each other about love, loss, and grief. I treated myself to an assortment of goodies at a bakery. I spent one evening splayed out on the couch with a warming blanket gently unknotting my neck and shoulders. I finished one book and tore through another.
In summary, I treated myself like company – without apology.
Now, the “Splendor path” is all about doing some of this every single day. The “Golden Ticket” is about doing it large-scale and for an extended period of time. It takes practice and planning – it’s also one of the best burnout preventatives there is. And this part of the Golden Ticket – with its lush food and new clothes – was mostly about tending to my physical needs. But constant indulgence would, I imagine, lose its charm – and the best plan is to attend to all of what writer Rumer Godden calls the “four rooms” – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
So I had more work to do on my Golden Ticket journey – and now I was ready to do the heavy lifting.