The weather was great and the mood spontaneous. We were carefree and the whole world was open to us. We were 12 years old and in a simpler time. We grabbed our sleeping bags, a small tent, some canned food, a canteen, matches, fishing pole, and not much else. My brother, my two best friends, and I headed into the forest by the river for a few days. We laughed, fished, swam in the river to escape the afternoon heat, made a campfire to cook over at night, and later gazed into the starlit night. Not a care in the world.
It’s a happy place in my mind now, a place I mentally drift to when I need to flee stress. Four decades later, everyone in this group is a decade or so away from retirement. Each of the four of us has had our victories and our defeats over the lifetime since that adventure, but we are all in touch, we all reminisce, and we all agree that this is a universal happy place in our minds.
We find ourselves yet again in another new year, and like everyone else, reflect and resolve about changes in direction or desired accomplishments for the upcoming 52 weeks.
What will my resolution be?
Lose weight? Well I’m not that overweight and I’ve come to realize nature prefers people in their 50s to be a tad more robust than those in their 30s and 40s. I’ll make a subconscious effort to eat a bit better and exercise a bit more, but not obsess over it.
Quit smoking cigarettes? I did that one decades ago.
I think I’ll bypass these resolution standbys and go for something a bit deeper.
This year, I want to value, promote, and cherish a better life. It will be more about people and experiences.
I can’t honestly re-create that happy place in my mind. The forest and river gave way to development and, frankly, I just don’t sleep on the ground anymore. I really need a mattress. I would miss my wife too much to go out with just the guys for a few days, anyway.
But, there is much I, and you, can do to bring about more of these moments that become memories.
Step 1, ensure you connect or reconnect with the ones who will be a part of those new memories.
Step 2, select a place and experience. That’s right — you can’t do it at home. One of you has “home-field advantage,” the other is a guest. The place must have equal special meaning and a genuine effect on all participants. We can help with ideas in Recreation News.
Step 3, get off your butt and do it! Not just once either, as many times and as often as you can. 2016 will only occur once.
2016 memories may be insignificant and fade away, or they can become keepers. The choice is yours. Make the right one.
Happy New Year!