This week was family celebration and vacation time for me. My nephew Graham graduated from high school, and the next day my sister and her kids and some of their friends and I decamped for the beach in South Carolina. The weather was perfect: 80s (27–30C), and sunny every day. The water there is warm (78–80F, 25–26C), great for swimming and splashing around.
Being active with a bunch of kids of different ages and interests is fun, but involves compromise, patience and improvisational skills. I don’t have kids, and am used to doing my own thing or joining a group of adult friends for active vigorous fun. Every time I get together with niece and nephews I have to remind myself that the cadence of activity will be different. And with them growing and changing, each time is different from the last.
This week, I rented beach cruiser bikes for everyone, which were a huge hit. We rode them everywhere– to the beach, on the beach, around the area we were staying, and on a local bikeway to a marsh area and the next town over from where we were staying. My sister said to me, “I’ve never ridden a bike to another town before”.
The bikeway is a 6-mile section of a proposed 17-mile paved path in the woods. It’s lovely.
The pace was leisurely, with several stops for water and regrouping. There was picture-taking and laughing and chatting. It was the sort of bike ride I take only with family or kids. Hmmm– why is that?
We also rode bikes on the beach, tides permitting. Again, we didn’t cover lots of ground, but had loads of fun. I even staged a family race, in which no one cooperated and everyone was laughing and riding in all directions.
The place where we stayed had a mini water park, with lazy river and various water features, along with pools and hot tubs. My nephew Gray and I were the most ambitious about trying out everything.
Of course we walked on the beach, too, and swam in the pools and in the ocean, and walked and biked all around the area where we were staying. There was lots of activity, and everyone slept soundly at night.
I’ve been writing a lot on this blog about my attempts to deal with my decreased fitness, feelings of loss about past fitness, and also about what moving through those feelings is like. Well, this week I found that I was able to take a vacation from those feelings. I simply had fun moving around in all the ways I described. Swimming, walking, cycling, playing, drifting in a lazy river, jumping in waves– all of these were pure pleasure. It certainly helped that I had a 12-year-old at my side for virtually all of this (thanks, Gray!), but it occurs to me that maybe I can do this at home too.
Easing up– on myself, on my cadence– that seems like a good idea.