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What are you waiting for?

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from Covid, it’s that we don’t want to wait anymore. Realising how short and precious life is rocked us to our core. Waiting to hug, see our loved ones, visit our favourite restaurant, go to the movies or on holiday is hard. The restrictions to waiting are now finally over – for some.

I met Paul James Edwards on my recent road trip in the Karoo. It’s not that I met him in person – but I would have liked to have. Gareth Crocker, author of The Last Road Trip introduced him to me in his latest novel. Paul spent eighteen years of his life waiting after his wife passed away, and in his eulogy that Gareth shares with all of us in this newsletter, he talks about his deep regret of spending such a large part of his life simply existing – instead of living. It is a deeply personal, harrowing letter and a stark reminder not to put life on hold.

I read The Last Road Trip, while ironically being on a road trip in the Karoo this past April. Roadtripping is fast becoming my favourite way to travel. I just love the wonder and adventure, the feeling of complete freedom and how you can connect with the places and the people you meet along the way.

On this trip, we spent a few nights on an olive and sheep farm in the quaint, historic town of Prince Albert, situated at the foot of the Swartberg Pass. Surrounded by soaring cliffs, astonishing rock formations and vast open spaces, I cuddled up in front of a warm fireplace and immersed myself in this beautifully told story. The book starts with the death of Paul James Edward and tells the story of five friends living in a retirement village who decide to go on a road trip and make the most of their lives – and do everything they’ve always wanted to do, but never did.

It is a heartwarming life story that holds a powerful message for every age: many people are so busy waiting, planning for tomorrow, and holding off till the time is right that they forget to live for today. It challenges us to consider this poignant question: what are you waiting for?

Apart from this powerful message, I also found some beautiful reminders to live engaged – to live fully:

Make time for child-like fun.
One of the characters, Samuel, reminds us to liberate our inner child as he throws caution to the wind and absorbs himself in the music when he dances on top of a hill with his friends to Bruce Springsteen’s “Working on a dream.”

Time is precious.
In another section of the book, Samuel shares that there is no time to wait, especially when it comes to spending time with people you love. He says: “Friends we always want more time. Time to do the things we promised ourselves when we were young. To say the words that need saying. But so often our time runs out before we get the chance. Our deepest regrets are always the things we leave between ourselves and those we hold most dear to us. Our thoughts. Our fear. Our love.”

Find wonder in the stars.
Samuel’s stargazing experience makes you want to look up at the night sky. He describes it as: “the deep, black sky was now pulsing with colour, oscillating and twinkling like a jeweller’s mat daubed with gemstones.” There is wonder to be found in looking at the night sky and seeing a part of the universe. I also learnt that the best time and place to see the stars are in the Karoo at 4 am in the morning. Fortunately for me, that’s exactly where I was and what I did when I read The Last Road Trip.

Your life is waiting to be lived – what are you waiting for?
Paul, in his eulogy, encourages us to live fully when he says, “I know my life would have been so much better spent if I had just been trying for something.”

So, let’s have no regrets! Let’s stop waiting! Let’s plan our next trip, have that important conversation, spend more time with people who are important to us, look at the stars, dance on mountaintops and make each moment count!

Wishing you no more waiting and lots more doing,

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