I guess I am now officially a grown-up. By that I mean I have scheduled too many things; tried to do too much and have ended up running around without much direction, trying to get things done and knowing something will fall into the cracks that are starting to appear. Those cracks eat dreams and burp disappointments.
And yet, here I am. Watching the hands of the clock come together at the top. I've just finished loading the trailer for the first, and last, camping trip of this summer. The kids are angry because I was a bit gruff in enlisting their aid. But if they want some of the fun of camping, they need to help get things moving.
In the past month I have had to deal with final exams, my graduation from the police academy, shopping for back to school, the installation of a new head gasket on the car, storms that brought power outages, an ever-changing list of demands at my full-time job and a writer's association that will settle for nothing less than my best work. Did you notice what was not on that list? Recreation. It wasn't there because I didn't plan any. That is a huge oversight on my part.
Think of this: You plan every other component of your day. You have a calendar with important dates marked weeks in advance. But we all expect recreation to just happen. It doesn't. It takes planning. We have to make time to slow down and enjoy the outdoors. If we don't, the seasons just pass us by. As proof of this, I must point out that I spent nearly a year attending night classes to get my law enforcement certification. Now that the classes are complete, I can't tell you where the time went. It was gone in a blink. My boat never got wet. Hunting trips got cancelled. Trips to the ski hill and the sledding runs were put on hold. I can never get that time back. It is gone.
So, I'm challenging you right now. Stop what you are doing and plan something fun. When was the last time you drove out to the Black Hills just to do the tourist stuff? Have you ever really walked around and explored Falls Park in Sioux Falls? Soon the leaves will be changing in Sica Hollow. Have you seen it? Have you walked the trails listening to the birds sing? Have you taken your kids or your grandkids someplace amazing yet this year? When was the last time you felt a fish tug on your line? I spent one evening chasing smallmouth bass this summer. One. And I have the nerve to say it is my favorite fish.
As ironic as is sounds, recreation takes work. You've got to plan your fun, or you won't have any. You need to make time in your busy schedule to slow down, look around and remember that even though you MUST work to earn a living, you also must play to make a life. These are the good old days. You can never get them back. I know I'm not supposed to use clichs in my writing but they are clich because they are true. On your deathbed you are not going to say, I wish I'd spent more time at work.
Get out there. Do something fun. See something amazing before it is too late.