Why I play outside

Why I play outside

WARNING: This is a stream of consciousness post. I wrote this a few moments after the events happened and, well … As an introvert, I don’t talk much, but when I do talk, especially to myself, there may be some colorful phrases involved.

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Taking one of my much needed breaks during recent day.

I sat there, staring at my computer screen. The wait was killing me — my mind was numb, the leg I tuck under the other when I sit was numb.

I felt dead. My vision faded to black for a split second as I shifted my gaze away from the artificial glare of the computer screen.

F*** this, my sigh said as I looked at the room around me. The nearby window let in the sunlight and colors of spring. I was looking at plastic, fake … everything.

F*** this.

I have been saying that phrase at this job that I hate more than love right now for about 12 out of the 20 years I’ve been my industry. I like my job because I can set my own schedule kind of and almost work from anywhere that has Internet service. But I miss certain perks that came with being a child. The chief among them — being able to play outside whenever I wanted and the weather permitted.

Instead of internalizing my imagined profanity-laced tirade, I got out of my chair and went outside. I walked and breathed in the sun’s warmth and breathed out how much things sucked.

The window didn’t lie. It was warm, sunny and — thanks to my allergy medicines — wonderful. The breeze had a slightly sea-salt kiss from the nearby water. The colors were crisp, beautiful and vibrant.

I play outside because I’ve always been there. I love video games and watching TV as much as the next person, but there is something about smelling real pine trees after a climb up a hill that just makes me feel alive.

I will admit, I’ve been in a bit of a funk as of late. The move in early April brought about many changes in my family — some of which I’m still processing. I have to spend time doing things I haven’t done in a while and these little things add up to a whole lot of time that I used to spend doing other things.

Since it’s April, it’s also allergy season. For me, allergy season is like making the flu vaccine, scientists (in this case myself and my doctor) have to make something up and hope they made the right one. It took almost a month, but a mixture of Claritin and a nasal steroid seems to be working. So I can hopefully start working out for real again.

A beagle walks on the road.
Blue, our rescue beagle-dashchund mix, needs really long walks every day, sometimes several times a day.

I mostly have been taking walks with the dogs, but also walk almost everywhere on errands within a few miles of my home. Heck, I’ll make excuses just so I can be outside. I’m averaging about five to six miles a day, and my legs definitely feel it.

Being outside, lets me reconnect my essence — who I really am. That person happens to be a cautious adventuring tomboy who curses a lot more than she should. I love being part of a crowd, but as an observer and story-teller. I want to capture everything — the sights, sounds, smells — so I can play the story in my mind and for others.

But at this moment, f*** crowds and the stupid fake manufactured wood that makes my desk.

Most of all, I crave being here, on this spot in the grass, with the willow tree branches brushing the top of my head as the wind pushes them like a little girl running back and forth through a beaded curtain. I want to see red, blue and yellow as nature intended — in shades that Pantone and Photoshop can’t seem to capture quite right.

I need a trip for all of my senses. I need to feel the energy of what I’m doing in my bones as my muscles screech in joy, tinged with pain. They remember being free.

My brain remembers too. And as all the happiness starts filling my body with positive energy, my brain also remembers I’m an adult.

I have to earn a paycheck to pay for my fun activities … and food … and shelter. I turn back toward the office and walk slowly, trying to soak up every last piece of happy before it slips away.

As a kid, I didn’t know how much I would miss being outside as an adult and parent.

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The tomb of James C. Johnston, the son of former North Carolina Gov. Samuel Johnston, is part of a plot in the middle of a plantation at which I frequently walk the dogs.

Going outside helps me be a better human. It is part of my core. Most of the time, when I go outside and take a break from life, I am happier, calmer and more able to deal with whatever is going on. I feel energized and grateful. I get to learn about where I’m at and I’m a fan of learning.

When I see my kids play outside, I want to join them. My sons have an impressive fort made of appliance boxes on our porch. Exploring spaces like this — of your own creation — is something I can’t capture in an Instagram post. Seeing things for the first time, sometimes through their eyes, makes this parenting-thing totally worth all the sleepless nights, stares from others during temper tantrums at the store, extra pounds I can’t seem to shed, etc.

I play outside. As much as I can. Every d*** day. I can’t wait to go for another adventure again soon.

Let me know how you take a break from your busy schedule either with a comment or via email at mtnmamaadventures@gmail.com .

 

 

 

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