I can’t believe how lucky I am for a multitude of reasons, but this weekend I was lucky enough to go to the beach for the second weekend in a row. This trip was with my college roommate Mandy. We took off early Friday morning from Winston-Salem and headed east toward Topsail Island.
It was a completely different journey from my trip last week starting with a different route since we had a different starting place. The weather was very different; we ate at places that were new to me; we stayed at the opposite end of the island which had a completely different vibe. We were so excited.
The last time Mandy and I traveled together was 33 years ago when we went to the beach after graduating from college. At the beginning of our senior year, Mandy and I and Melinda, our third musketeer, began planning our trip, and we had high hopes of going somewhere exotic maybe even taking a cruise. But reality soon reminded us that we were poor college students. So we started saving. We had a giant glass jar we kept by the door of our apartment, and we put any extra money we had into it. By the time graduation rolled around, we realized there would be no exotic travel; there would be no cruise; the best we could afford was several days at the beach. The closest beach.
We were able to spend several days there. We must have played 1000 hands of gin rummy in addition to charades on the beach all day every day. We went to bed early and woke up early, walked the beaches, and built sand castles. It was not exactly filled with the kind of debauchery that most college beach trips entail.
It wasn’t fancy by any means, but we had so much fun. We were young and full of enthusiasm. As recent graduates, we were full of anticipation for the future, and all the wonderful things it would bring. I think we must’ve laughed and joked the entire time.
I remember driving home at the end of our trip. Our third roommate had to leave early, so Mandy and I drove back together. At one point we ran into a traffic jam on I-77; the entire road was closed down. It was long before the age of GPS naturally, but we exited the highway and took off cross-country. We got so lost in the wilds of South Carolina that we couldn’t even pick up an FM radio station. Undeterred, we looked at it as nothing more than a grand adventure.
A lot of life has happened since we spent this much time together: marriage, children, being caregivers to both young and old. So much has changed since we were fresh out of college. There have been some rough times for both of us; I’m glad we didn’t know what was in store.
For better or worse life shapes us as we go along. We always hear about how some people get worn down by life, and it makes them bitter and angry. And then there are others. Maybe it’s genetic; I would say it has more to do with their support systems. Judging by the love and laughter this weekend, I’m going to say even though we may have a few more wrinkles and a little more gray hair, deep down, we’re still the same girls we were 33 years ago.