Have you ever wanted to just chuck it all and head for the coast? Say good-bye to the job, the dull routine and set out for a land where the sun is always shining? Yeah, me too. When I was younger and before life got in the way I had a plan to do just that.
California, here I come. It was simple, really. I would take a job working in Alaska at a fish processing plant. The work would be awful. Smelly, backbreaking labor that would suck up 100 hours a week of my life and pay better than anything in the lower 48. If a person could last the summer they would end it with a nice, fat bonus check. A check that I would use to purchase a car for the drive from Alaska to sunny Cali. What I would do in California remained murky in my mind, but I had high hopes. Life would be better by the ocean. I was sure of it. Sneaky, sneaky life stole that dream from me.
The details remain unimportant but I never made it to Alaska. Never made it to California. Unless you can count a family vacation my husband, son and I took a couple of years ago. And that's o.k. because I am right where I am supposed to be. Couldn't be happier or more sure of it. But, I'd be a liar if I said I never think of Alaska and wonder what if. What if my plan had come to pass? Would I have made it the whole fishy summer, taken my money and never looked back? Who would I be right now? I'll never know and I guess it doesn't matter. The truth is I don't often go to that what if place in my mind. It's rather pointless. But, something happened the other day that took me back to that time.
An email from my nephew brought me back to those days of California dreamin'. He will be graduating from high school on June 4th and has been mulling over which college to attend. Not an easy choice when you're eightteen and the future stretching out before you seems so, well, so hard to comprehend. One day it's what hoodie do I wear? And, then just like that you are asked to make a decision that will affect the rest of your life. His email was typical until he threw out the line 'maybe move to the coast'. Oh, to be eightteen again. Maybe move to the coast indeed. My advice to him? If you're going to do it then do it while you are young. There may never be this chance again. Sorry, big brother, but I didn't tell your boy to stay in town, work hard, and save his money. Where would be the fun in that? Instead, I offered up this bit of advice. Head to the coast. Work on the beach this summer. Have fun. Soak up the sun. Head back home in the fall and take up the school books again. Life is all about weighing your options and picking the one you can live with twenty years down the line. Regret is a waste of time and if you have to experience it at all, it's best to keep it at the minimum. Tuesdays at nine is when I get a taste of mine. Deadliest Catch is on and sometimes watching those Bering Sea fishermen I can almost trick myself into believing I could have made it that summer.