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The Great Outdoors

August 20, 2014

Normally, this is the time of year when I begin winding down from my stretch of scalding, water-based summer activities and easing into the wooded, soothing greenery that borders the cusp of fall.

After making no less than three ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos, washing sand out of every body crevice and blanket we own, and increasing my breath-holding abilities by a whopping 60 seconds, it’s time for the cooling, but no less rigorous, routine change that hiking, canoeing and fishing will bring.Beach Diversity

I’m not going to lie — summer brings a level of constant activity in punishing heat, so I tend to be in peak physical condition from the onslaught of a “don’t just sit there!” mental mantra. But the shift to cool-down mode brings a welcome reprieve and a distinct shift.

This summer, I made a mental note to look around and enjoy the thousands of individuals enjoying their time on the beaches with family and friends. Fat, thin, old, young — they were all there with a zest for life spending quality time with loved ones. No one seemed to be holding back from going in the ocean or building sandcastles, let alone waiting to lose those last ten pounds before they could be comfortable.

It made me think that maybe the obstacles presenting themselves as mental hurdles to happiness reside solely in the minds of those who can’t proceed without perceived perfection attained. The people rippling with impressive musculature and tight buns seemed more body conscious than the rest of us everyday schlubs; more worried about how they were perceived by a beach full of complete strangers than they were about having a great time and creating a wonderful memory.

So as I move on to the next season, as the heat subsides and the hiking boots come out, I’m going to be keeping my eyes peeled for people of all sizes seizing the day and not waiting for something more before taking the first step out.

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