In grade school, we referred to the time between grades as “summer vacation.” It wasn’t defined by travel. It was simply time away from book learning.
I’m many years removed from 6th grade, but next week at this time – god willing and the creek don’t rise and I pass my finals – I will be on “summer vacation.”
In grade school, my only summer vacation plans were to sleep late and play flashlight tag as late as my parents would allow. My dad owned a grocery store, so of course I had to work, too. But it was a good gig and earned me enough money to afford as many Trixie Belden books and “Teen” and “Tiger Beat” magazines as I could read in three months.
This year’s summer vacation plans are a bit different. I won’t be tearing out posters of Shaun Cassidy and hanging them on my bedroom wall, but I will still read as much as I can. I will also work in the soup kitchen, blog more regularly, help my daughter plan her wedding, and take my grandkids to the park. A LOT.
I will also…..RIDE MY BIKE!
I know. Shocking. But it’s something I get so dang excited about, it’s hard to explain. I know many of you know what I mean. You’ve found your “thing.” That something you never dreamed you’d love to do, let alone get all mentally wrapped up in.
Biking is my thing, and every spring since discovering my love for biking, I get this angst of “What if?” I could never articulate it until I read “My Journey To Fit: A Forty-Something’s Weight Loss Journey” blog post yesterday. Shelley nailed my thoughts. I just substituted “bike” for “run.”
Here’s what she wrote: "Run the mile you are in" - Runner's World posted that on their Facebook page yesterday, and it struck me: I seem to spend so much of my runs worrying about what's around the corner - the hill (ugh, so high!), the distance (ugh, so far!), the wind (ugh, so strong!), the heat and humidity (ugh, TEXAS!) that I tend to not focus on and better still, enjoy the moment. Because I really DO love to run. I think it's just in my nature to want the circumstances to be perfect and easy...and we all know that doesn't happen very often when it comes to running! But I am going to work harder on the mental aspect of it, and just BE a runner and stop fighting everything else that comes with it.”
What I will do on my summer vacation is all I noted before, PLUS, I will “just BE a biker and stop fighting everything else that comes with it” and bike the mile I’m in. There will be hills I’ll be slow to climb. There will be heat and humidity and I’ll smell bad and my hair will suck. There will be people on the path who don’t respect the rules. (Texting and biking? Seriously?) There will be flat tires.
But there will also be birds and trees and the rich smells of the forest floor. Most important, there will be freedom. That’s why I love to ride my bike. When I ride, I’m free – for an hour or two – from the everyday minutia. I am focused only on me. Just me. Am I hydrated? Do I need to stop and stretch that muscle? Spit out a bug? That’s freedom, my friends. That’s quality “me time.”
And speaking of “me time,” this weekend is the Pittsburgh Marathon. There will be thousands of folks out there concentrating on themselves for 3, 13 and 26 miles (plus a few yards), including my daughter Cassie, her husband Matt, Maintaining Diva Sondra, and my friends Jim and Kara. Good luck to them and to all of you doing your “thing” this weekend and every opportunity you have ! May you always live the mile you’re in.