Unprepared Preparedness

It’s 1980.

My family just took delivery of a brand new 23 foot Dodge recreational vehicle, gleaming white in all its road-hogging magnificence, and a replacement for the camper that we’d used on many a family vacation.

Dad, owner/operator of his own Mercedes Benz repair shop, is eager to dive into preparations for the maiden voyage: a massive month-long family expedition up and down the west coast. All he has to do is prep the behemoth, and we’d be on our way.

His preparations of packing it, repacking, putting in needed tools, making sure there are no rattles, checking hoses, the radiator, and an endless list of To Dos means that our trip departure is delayed. First, by just a day or two. Which becomes a week. Which becomes two weeks.

Various other delays keep pushing the departure date, until the month-long expedition morphs into… a single night in the local mountains.

In complete fairness to Dad, this was the only example of my childhood in which a trip was effectively wiped off the books due to his neurotic Teutonic NEED to have everything just so. We had many many other road trips, very memorable ones, where we enjoyed the dunes of Baja, stormed the beaches of Camp Pendleton, climbed the Sierra Nevadas, and beyond.

Though it took many years to realize, I took a valuable lesson from that Summer ’80 experience. Sometimes, you just have to GO. Stop the planning. Stop the preparations. Stop worrying about the rattles. Stop waiting for the stars to align. Stop dreaming about it. Get the hell out of your cubicle/your house and GO. Buy the non-refundable airfare and, prepared or not, FORCE yourself to depart that day.  Dad, late for damn near everything in his life, never missed a booked flight. If it worked for him, trust me, it can work for you.

Otherwise, that month vacation (you know, the metaphor for your entire life) will be gone, and you’ll be on the Forest Lawn website at age 39, making sure a plot is ready for your impending arrival. So, take a close look at the picture at the top of this page. Those proportions are correct.

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