Perchance to Dream

by Julie, on retreat

I have a significant birthday coming up in a few weeks, and have been looking for a way to celebrate. As with most big birthdays, I’m also taking the ramp up time to reflect. And, perchance to dream. I have much to celebrate. But I’m also thinking about this next decade, and what I’d like to accomplish.

Staying healthy, first and foremost. Getting in shape, eating well, keeping on top of any health issues that come up.

Having more adventures. For me, that means traveling. My list of places I want to go is long. I also want to try new things, within reason. I’m not going to climb Mt. Everest. But ziplining? I’d like to try that.

Challenging myself creatively. I know I can write books–my tenth will be out this summer. But how can I challenge myself? What does that look like? A new genre? Multiple points of view? A new series?

A few months ago I was scrolling on Instagram and saw that Jess Lourey, a writer I greatly admire, was offering a writing retreat in Italy. I wrote to her, and asked some questions. Long story short, my early birthday present to myself is a trip to Italy, with my very rough draft of a new and ambitious project, to go on a writing retreat with a dozen other writers. This trip will see me walking a lot and eating well, traveling and exploring, and having a creative reboot. In other words, a perfect way to start this new decade. My cats and house are being sat, and all I need to do is not get lost in Rome, and meet up with the group in time to get to Tuscany.

Readers, how do you mark significant times in your life? Do you use these times to reflect, perchance to dream, on what’s next? I look forward to reading your comments–once I’m back.

17 Thoughts

  1. Julie, I am so excited for you! I know you’ll come away from this retreat energized creatively and with so many new ideas. Where is the best place to follow you while you’re gone? Instagram? And happy early birthday, my friend.

  2. In Sept. I turn the dreaded age of collecting social security. Maybe then the phone calls will stop. I swear we must get at least 10 a day about medicare. It’s also the month where we have been married for 15 years and I just made the final payment for our Hawaiian cruise. I’m going to try to forget the first and celebrate the second. My husband wants to get himself a ukulele.

  3. Have fun, Julie! To pursue your dreams offers one of life’s finest challenges and fun, too! Ciao.

  4. What a fabulous trip, Julie! I took myself to Paris for my 40th birthday and loved every minute of it! Each year since I’ve done something special. Last year was a bucket list trip to Yosemite. Life-changing and life-affirming.

  5. Happy milestone, Julie! What a wonderful way to mark it! Hope it is a revitalizing and energizing retreat.

  6. Julie, that sounds wonderful! I have made major changes over time but not necessarily related to birthdays. Most seem to be just the right time to do.
    I have begun to read your Garden Squad series and enjoying it tremendously. Grew up in Massachusetts and went to the beaches a lot. Also, historian in a historical society with its space issues so know the territory there and have been very involved in my local community. Sounds like a fit! Thanks for a fun series.

  7. What a perfect way to celebrate a birthday!! Hope you have a wonderful trip! I’m celebrating a “significant ” birthday in October and we’re planning a trip to Canada—not as cool as Italy is but my first time there.

  8. I love the idea of experiences like yours to mark milestones and maybe even rebirths! Hope your trip is everything you hope for!

  9. I’m picturing you on the hop on hop off bus in Rome today and eating outside and meeting charming Italian men. Have a fabulous trip.

  10. Have a fabulous trip. Way to celebrate your 21st birthday! (That’s a milestone birthday, right?)

    I went ziplining for the first time in Hawaii last summer. It was great. Highly recommended.

  11. There have been many significant times in my life, but I never really marked them in a special way, just enjoyed them. But once I retired, until Covid, every year we would go several special places, enjoy them and plan the next. We would mark them with something excellent we did or somewhere great we visited or just enjoyed time with good friends. Then we would look back at the photos and plan the next trip–New Orleans for food and fun; the Florida Keys for fishing, relaxing by looking at the Atlantic Ocean and taking it all in; Savannah for food and special places and staying on the river; Pigeon Forge for the Shades of the Past Car Show with our 1937 Ford Roadster and deriving the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Smoky Mountains; Blowing Rock, North Carolina to walk across the Mile High Bridge at Grandfather’s Mountain with our pup, and so on. It is all an adventure even when you repeat the visit yearly because you add new memories.

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