I have always wasted the summers by staying inside. When I met Lauren, it didn’t get any better. We would buy a beach pass, and I would go once with her. I would lie to her and say I wanted to do more outdoor activities. But by Labor Day, I had not done one outdoor activity. It’s sad really.
Then Covid came in the spring, and the world changed forever. I resisted at first. I went into denial thinking it would last only a couple of weeks before Betsy would return to preschool. We are now four months into this thing, and it’s anything but normal.
But the silver lining is I am spending more time outside, doing outdoor activities with my 4-year-old daughter, Betsy. Going on picnics, sneaking on the playground equipment when they were still closed. I taught her how to not get wet when passing by a sprinkler on the sidewalk. She taught me how to get soaked when passing by a sprinkler on the sidewalk.
Last month we went canoeing. This month went horseback riding and blueberry picking. We built a fire and made s’mores. If I was a Girl Scout I would have earned at least five merit badges so far, and the summer’s not even over yet.
This is one of the most enjoyable summers I’ve ever had, even though it’s during one of the worst times in the world. It makes no sense to me. I feel a bit guilty about it.
I cannot explain it really, except that the things I resist the most are often the ones that lead to the most joy.
My relationship with spending time outdoors is similar to my relationship with board games. For years, I resisted playing board games. I thought they were a waste of time, and whenever I was at a party and someone said, “Let’s play Trivial Pursuit,” I’d be like, “No fucking way.” But when I give in and play the fucking game, I always have fun. I just need a push or a kick, some sort of outside force.
This year, that outside force has been a combination of the lock down and wanting to entertain my daughter. And I’m really grateful for it.