I'm bumping down the beach on a four-wheel quad. The wind whips my hair off my face, blowing it into dreadlocks. Sand gets into my eyes and nostrils. The sky is a dark blanket filled with hundreds of shiny pinpricks.
In front of me, seven ladies are zooming along the sand. One by one, they raise their hands in the air and sing.
It's a perfect evening in Baja. It's freedom. No cell phones. No beeping and zinging. No worries. It's a birthday celebration like none other.
From the picture I've painted, you're probably assuming this took place decades ago. But no. Half the group are women turning 30, the other half of the group, of which I am a proud member, are turning 60.
Yes, we are entering our sixth decade with gusto. And why not? The last time I checked with a travel guide, being young and fit wasn't a prerequisite for acting wild and crazy at the beach in Baja.
Now of course, we "mature" señoras are celebrating a bit differently from our young senoritas. We stay up later. We drink more. We flirt without restraints or expectations. Because with age comes wisdom. And a certain kind of freedom that lets you act without second guessing yourself.
It also brings a few other changes. Such as what items might be considered "essential" when packing. Whereas the 30-year-olds brought moisturizers, body oils and SPF 15 sunscreen, we older ladies packed anti-aging face creams, puffy-eye reduction oils and SPF 500 sunblock.
The younger girls brought birth control pills and vitamins. We wouldn't be caught dead without our hormone pills, calcium, antacids and high-blood pressure meds.
The young women filled their suitcases with pretty flowered sundresses, fancy sandals and even high heels. We brought comfortable walking shoes, sweatpants and tank tops.
Each 30-year-old has several brightly colored bikinis. My friends and I all have one piece suits with wraps that cover our jiggling thighs while walking around in public.
The señoritas brought manicure sets, complete with nail buffers, cuticle softeners and various polishes. We señoras made sure to have scrub brushes to get the dirt out of our fingernails after a long night of quad riding on the beach.
But not only do we pack differently, we carry with us different baggage, and a mindset allowing us to let that baggage go. So, in the evening, while the young girls hover around their computers, posting the day's activities on Facebook and Skyping with their friends back home, we older ladies sit on the deck, sipping margaritas looking up at the sky. We know there will be plenty of time later to look at our photos and relive the trip. For now, we are going to live the trip instead.
The young girls feel the need to stay in touch with real life, sharing their every move on Facebook. We have checked out of reality for this week and checked into paradise.
In the morning, we'll be riding again: menopausal women with hot flashes taking the town by storm. We know the local fisherman, the beach vendors, the mariachi singers and especially the bartenders. They know us, not as "older ladies" but as "That Crazy Quad Gang."
In 30 years, when our young girls turn 60, I hope I can be here to celebrate with them. After all, age is just a state of mind. Of course, it helps to have a body that holds up. But there's nothing like driving a quad, at night, on the beach to keep your mind and body young.