The Last Day of 2015

Can you believe it? We have already lived a decade and a half in the 2000s. I graduated high school having never owned a cell phone. I didn’t own a smartphone until I was 26 years old. I don’t know how that all relates, but in my brain it does. In 2003, when I graduated high school and started college, Facebook didn’t exist. How did I communicate with all of my friends? Oh right, we called each other’s house phones. We showed up at each other’s front doors without texting. We went months at a time without taking a single picture (not that I don’t love pictures, I do! I really do!).

There was a time when I exchanged epic e-mails between friends and siblings. There was a time when I had pen pals. There was a time… well you get it.

Once, I was hanging out with my best boys during the summer days after our first year of college.  The sun was beginning its descent to the west. We decided to chuck any and all maps in the trunk of the car and follow the sunset. We knew we were driving towards Lake Michigan, and hoping to drive straight into the water.  When we got there we wanted to throw a stick into the lake. We had big goals. (This road trip actually started with someone saying “Let’s drive to Lake Michigan and throw a stick in the water!”)

Excitement built as we slammed the trunk shut, hopped in Chris’s green Ford Escort ZX2, and drove out of the other Chris’s driveway. The sun was to our right, we turned right. The sun was to our left, we turned left.

50 minutes later we found ourselves so close to the water we could smell it. We made one last left and faced a sign that read, “Dead End”.  Chris hesitated slightly, debating,should we keep going? Someone else (could have been me, I can’t remember) said, “What if it leads us straight to the water?” We kept going. It seemed like a private drive, thick forests of trees surrounded us on either side. We end up in a parking lot. No beach or water to be seen, disappointment on all of our faces. But why a parking lot? Then we saw a set of stairs going up to the top of the hill.

We reached the top of the stairs and found ourselves staring into the glistening fresh water of Lake Michigan. Wait. Did that really happen? Yup. It did. There were well over a hundred stairs leading down to the beach. Big smiles and whoops of laughter followed. It was a public beach sandwiched between two private beaches. Dubbed “The Secret Beach”, we ended up going back several times. We also told all of our friends and family so I guess it wasn’t much of a secret.

But before we left this first time we needed a stick. And we couldn’t find one. True story. We threw rocks in the water instead. Still counting our adventure a success.

In today’s world we could have used the GPS on our phones and found that place, and possibly many others like it, by looking at that very helpful blue line and following the British voice of Garmin. But the destination was only a small part of the adventure wasn’t it?

Sometimes you need to throw your map in the trunk and drive.

I hope to do that more in 2016.





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