Are we all ready for a non-pandemic summer or what? I know I am. As I write, March Madness is in full swing. It’s a great sport series that makes people optimistic, fills bars, enjoins bracket friends, and makes for perfect spring Saturday TV. Such fun. Every year I fantasize about accepting the workplace tropy amid cheers and cries for speechmaking; also every year the reality sets in that I’ve finished near the very bottom. But no matter; still great fun. I recall the utter pie-hole-agape disbelief when I learned of its cancelling last year. Who could have known at the time the seismic ride we were in for?
It’s been a long year, but vaccine #2 is coursing through my veins, the days are lengthening and warming, and I am SO ready for summer.
We’re in a great place to begin mapping out our 2021 summer. We’re debt-free, back to being a two-income team, investing, giving, and the minimalistic living style has created an almost responsibility-free opportunity to be away from home-base for extended periods. My brain is buzzing with potential summer travel options, not just for this summer, but for several more after that. I’ve learned that days and weeks can slip by if we’re not careful; if we don’t have a plan. I don’t want to look back on this summer and wonder where it went.
Additionally, dreaming and making plans is fun, makes for great Martini (Gin, of course) after-work conversation time, and promotes focusing on our successes – something we all should do more.
Dreaming and planning are the first two steps in the four step process of dreaming, planning, living, and remembering. We’ve dreamed an awesome summer; now it’s time to fit all the fun-puzzle pieces together and make some incredible memories!
Some of the things I have listed are couple plans (done together), and some will be individual goals. And that’s ok! Get them dreamed, planned, and on the calendar!
Ride the Boise Greenbelt
Ok, so maybe starting a little on the tame side here, but riding the 25-mile Boise Greenbelt is awesome, and gorgeous, and relaxing. Did I mention that you can also start and stop at multiple amazing little shops, restaurants, and bars along the way? One of our favorite rides is to start and end at Bardenay’s, where, as luck would have it, they distill the best gin on the whole planet! Who knew! And, this year might bring the extra fun of new bikes! It’s pretty tough to beat a summer day on the Greenbelt with a Bardenay Martini (Gin, of course) at the end!
Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Now we’re stepping up the game! We have a beach cottage reserved for a week on the coast of Maine, in what is probably the quintessential and most-awesome summer New England vacay spot: OOB! 7-mile beach, boardwalk, historic pier, beach-front amusement park, pier fries, clam cakes, lobstahs, drinks on the surfside deck; all right on the beach! Sand, sun, surf, and summah! Some wicked good!
Ok, I’m not entirely sure that’s what it’s called. Rachel and I will be house-sitting for some close friends while they travel out of country, and they have chickens. This, then, is the wild, stare-down-fear, livin’ on the edge part of my summer plans.
To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about chicken oversight. I’ve never had chickens. I’ve never even been around chickens (I mean, except to eat them and the eggs, and I have eaten alot of chickens and eggs) I’ve heard elders talk about having mean chickens in the olden days. Just how mean can chickens get? And I’ve seen those AFV videos where chickens chase terrorized screaming kids all over the yard (chicken ptsd is probably a thing). What if that happens? What if the neighbors see? What if the chickens take over the yard? What if they can tell I set the record for per-person chicken consumption? Bravery Mark. Press on.
Read Two Fictional Books
I read alot. Daily. Usually in the morning. I tend to drift towards the deep end of the pool. Currently I’m reading about neuroplasticity or brain plasticity and the ability for the brain to adapt chemically based on experiences, especially as it relates to addiction and impulse control. Dopamine, opioids, neurotransmitters; pretty fascinating stuff actually, but not an easy trudge.
I picked up a historical fiction book the other day (The Son by Philipp Meyer) and found that I liked it. I have not yet had the time to do it justice, and there are alot of names and generations covered as foundational information, so I stopped and will need to start it again. Time is a factor for me still, and I feel like I’m wasting time by reading fiction. It didn’t really happen, so what’s the point? I’m hoping to fix this by reading historical fiction; where I guess it kinda-sorta happened-ish. I set a goal to read two of these types of books this summer.
Squat and Press 185 (Smith Machine)
These two are fitness related summer goals for me. I’m having an absolute blast re-discovering fitness lately. I’m learning more and more about using body weight, bands, tubes, Slam Balls, and I’m watching Athlene-X YouTube videos – that guy is amazing. Actually, Sylvester Stallone turned me on to him. As people like me (and Sly) mature, we can’t push the really heavy weights anymore; it’s damaging to joints and connective tissue. But what we can do is train smarter. An older mentor of mine once said something to effect of, “train today to train tomorrow.” Talk about future-minded.
I also started using a couple of supplements again (joint support and creatine) and feel the difference. So much so that I want to incorporate more weight resistance back into my routine. Nothing crazy heavy, and the Smith Machine keeps it safe and guided. I’m anticipating a very cool milestone this year and I’m very optimistic about it.
What would summer be without spending time with family? Now that the virus is unwinding, it’s time to fire up the barbie and get back to partying. Reconnecting will be good. A year is a long time to not get to wrestle with grandkids. All the great electronic communication tools notwithstanding, there’s nothing that beats a lawn chair, cold beer, sunscreen, maybe a frisbee or two, and barefeet in the grass. Plus, I need hugs and handshakes. No masks, no distancing, and no looking back. It’s over. Let’s go.
Ok, one more. (I really do need to get better at this).
I turn 60!
It’s hard to believe, where did time go, and all of the other awful obligatory (last one, I swear) sayings that come with maturing and decade-number-birth milestones. It’s the Big 6-0! Although the core of summer will have passed, it’ll still technically be summer (September 21st). I’m actually looking forward to celebrating this big one. I absolutely believe the 60’s will be my best decade yet. Possible retirement (heh-heh), travel, possible relocation (co-location?), new hobbies, new pursuits, new adventures; talk about exciting. I might even do one of those Man-sexy photo shoots; maybe a fireman (I’ll fight your fire bay-bee!) or maybe a lumberjack (insert favorite wood joke) motif, who knows! The point is I can hardly wait. And cake! How big should a 60! cake be! Right? Ginormous! And with real, numb-your-lips, 200% sugar frosting; none of that whippy crap.
Well, so there it is: Middle Age Mark’s coming Summer ’21.
And potential Chicken PTSD (so worth it).