One of my favorite running buddies is moving away soon. We’ve spent the last nearly five years getting together once every couple of weeks to log a few miles and catch up on each other’s lives. We talk about careers, husbands, her kid, our families, our pets. It’s nice. I’m going to miss these runs.
Because she’s leaving I had her down to the beach for one of our last runs together. We haven’t done much running on the beach in recent years. After her kid came along (the little guy is 3 now!), leisurely runs at the beach were harder to fit in, so we settled into a routine of meeting at a park halfway between our respective homes for our runs. So when we met at the beach the other day, my friend confessed.
“I don’t even know when the last time I was at the beach. It’s sad. I live in a tropical paradise just minutes from spots that people pay ridiculous amounts to vacation in. I am about to leave forever, and can’t remember the last time I stopped to take this all in.”
And take it in, we did. On our run, we spotted three freshly laid sea-turtle (probably loggerhead) nests. We even got there before the turtle ladies came along to rope the nests off and protect the little eggs! We watched the pelicans dive bomb the waves for breakfast. We saw a father teaching his son to cast a fishing line. An elderly couple out for their morning beach stroll with coffee mugs in hands. And even spotted a dolphin in the distance. It was just a wonderful morning. And we appreciated every second of it.
I Love Where I Live
I’ve lived in a fair number of different locations in my 30 years on this third rock from the sun. Small towns to big cities. Baking hot deserts to cold green climates. But our little quarter-acre slice of suburbia within jogging distance from the beach is by far my favorite place I’ve ever lived.
Even so, it can be easy to fall into a rut and not appreciate it as much as possible. I know, we’ve been there.
Cookie Cutter Experiences
Last fall, Mr. PoP and I realized that most of our “date nights” were the same. To decide our destination was too often a question of: “Which shopping center should we go walk around? The one with the Coldstone Creamery or the one with the Panera Bread?” A big night might have been going to a third shopping center that had a CPK. Oh my!
It wasn’t a matter that we were shopping too much and overspending. We rarely bought anything except for dinner out on these dates. It was more a matter that other than the fact that the malls were outdoor malls, which is somewhat unique to warmer climates, our experiences could probably have been the same at any number of suburban shopping centers across the United States.
And yet, even as we did this, driving 10+ miles on most of these “shopping center dates”, we bemoaned the failure of unique non-chain restaurants within walking distance of our home. But that wasn’t really fair. After all, we were opting for the cookie cutter experience, too!
So we did something about it.
Winter Walking Agenda
We called it our Winter Walking Agenda. This works in FL. I might recommend another season if your climate is colder. =)
But the gist of it was this. During the winter, we reset our default date night from a chain restaurant at the shopping mall to a local restaurant within walking distance of our house. Sure, these restaurants are a bit more expensive than the chains, but it’s worth it. We’re loving our little area right around our home more than ever and feel like we’re taking it less for granted.
Someday (though not anytime soon!) we’re probably going to move away from our lovely little slice of heaven here, and I don’t want to end up like my friend, who couldn’t remember the last time she really enjoyed where we live.
Are you making loving where you live a priority? Do you really love where you live?