It’s Friday and all I can say is – FINALLY! I’m one of those folks who lives for the weekend. And when the weekend comes, I try to make the most of it.
Last weekend, my brother and I went hiking. Hiking has become one of my favorite activities. After being cooped up in an office all week, being out on the trails is quite restorative.
Being 51 years old, I can remember the time before cellphones and the internet. I gotta say – those were some good days. We didn’t have crap being shoved in our faces 24/7. Living in a rural area, we had an antenna for our television. We could count on ABC, CBS and NBC and when the weather was good, we might get PBS. We knew our neighbors and we looked out for each other.
I spent my childhood playing in the woods, floating on inner-tubes in the river and hanging out at the fish house where I got my first “job” heading shrimp. I was in second grade. That job gave me spending money and later helped buy my school clothes. It taught me the value of honest work.
I look at the world now and realize that we (my generation) were the lucky ones. Our parents weren’t hovering over us every moment. Seriously, it never occurred to my folks that it might not be safe for my sister and I to be floating on inner-tubes in a river by ourselves. They told us where we could float and they expected us to listen. And we did.
I see kids now – still in elementary school carrying cellphones. Their little faces glued to the screens. I can’t help but wish that I could wave a magic wand and drop them in the middle of 1976. No cellphones or video games to occupy their time/mind. Instead, they’d have the opportunity to explore the world around them, to build forts, walk the woods, catch clams and chew on sour weed.
The world wasn’t perfect then. It’s not perfect now. But for a kid – growing up “unplugged” was about as perfect as we could get.
Maybe that’s why I like hiking so much. For a few hours, I’m on an adventure, exploring new paths with no unwanted interruptions. I’m unplugged and I’m lucky.