Everyone has a “thing,” which can include: a hobby, an interest, a diversion, a “thing” they do for personal enjoyment, and a change of pace from the daily grind. More often than not, this “thing” is not always understood by friends, or family of a person, or a group of people. It is tolerated; it is accepted with a shrug; also, it is viewed as “odd, but he/she loves it; so, I say whatever.” For some people, their “thing” is a way to pass time, a way to take a break from the stress of their work and/or family lives. For some, it is something much more- something that brings them to a different place in this world- even something that brings balance and peace. For me, this “thing” is the outdoors.
That is right: the outdoors. A rather simplistic “thing” that requires one to work in order for it to work. For years, I have tried to find some “thing” that provides me with a little bit of “being” each day. When I was in high school, and when I was in scouting as a boy, it was the outdoors. Then, a few life events occurred; and, the outdoors was forgotten. I tried other stuff. I enjoy reading, writing, playing music, hiking, and love to float in the pool when it is nice and quiet; but, still–that “thing” was always missing.
When I was a kid, I lived in the outdoors. Each day, I would ride my bike to my neighbor’s house, and he (my best friend for life) and his brother, joined by his father [here and there], would play wiffle ball. My parents did not understand, but let me be. I liked to think they were happy that I found something I not liked, but LOVED to do. Even as my mother would be watching her cooking shows, she would say, “It is nice out. You should go outside!” On some level, she still knew (and still knows) how much I loved the outdoors, and still do.
The outdoors was and still is freeing for me. The wind in my face, the silence of a quiet trail, the sun breaking through the branches of trees, and casting such colors against and through the leaves, with so many degrees of shadows on the road beneath my eyes when I would be climbing up a mountain, and the noise of wildlife, bugs, and the air. It was me, the outdoors, and the wonder of the world around me.
The first few miles are always the toughest, because you are getting “warmed up,” and you think to yourself “What did I get myself into. I will be hiking forever!” Then, you see what you will be working with: the trails and area you will be hiking on. This warms the leg muscles, this stretches the arms, back, and neck as you get comfortable. In no time, you are loose and hiking smoothly. You and the outdoors are both one; you then settle into a song, cadence, or thought that equals the beat of your heart. Soon, it is time to speed it up. So, you hike and your speed increases; your song, cadence or thought increases! You slow down. You can feel your quads and hamstrings working; you can feel the tendons, and smaller muscles around your knees and ankles working; you can feel all of it from the arches of your feet up and through your body. Your hands and wrists must stay loose, as well as your arms, shoulders, and back. You cannot tense up; you must “go with it.” Eventually, from carrying stuff on your back while hiking, you breathe deeper, fuller than ever, and exhale more completely, all with ease. You are not over-exerting yourself, because you have entered “the zone.”
There is something about “the zone” for me. It is a place where nothing else matters. It is a place where I feel more aware of everything. There is a sense of peace in “the zone.” It does not last though. Soon, the legs start to get heavy, as does one’s neck and shoulders. Eventually, you are a mile or so from the end of your hike in the outdoors, and you need to cool down. You put everything into a nice pace, with a little resistance. You arrive at the end of your “journey,” and you take the pack off your back. It is the taste of salt around your mouth that reminds you that you are alive. You feel good.
I am in Orlando, Florida with my family for my parent’s 25th anniversary vacation and for a vacation, before I head to college. It has been a while since I have been in the outdoors; but, when you are in Orlando, you are in the outdoors. Man, do I feel old.
I knew if I was ever going to find that sense of peace again, it would have to be something different. To be able to rediscover that place I love is a great feeling; it is a feeling that one has that can never be taken away.
It is time for me to get out there to finish vacation, being in the outdoors. It will not last forever; but, I know one thing is for sure: even if there is another set back, or two or three or whatever, then somehow, someway I will always find my way back to that place where I find the most peace, which is the outdoors.
So, when you see a update (like this) showing, and sharing a moment that makes someone think about what makes them happy, it makes YOU happy. That is your call to then, put together in simple words: find peace, by going to DO IT.
-Orlando, Florida, USA.