For our family, 2015 will be the year we learned to play outside. It sounds simple, almost even silly, to have learned something that used to be a normal way of life in times past. It was not long ago that everyone was outside every day barring the most extremes of weather. Children walked to school or did not go to school at all. Cows needed to be milked, water needed to be fetched, and socialization happened exclusively face to face when one person arrived at the other’s home, work, church, etc. Slowly over time, inventions of convenience and comfort took over. Electricity, plumbing, heating, telephones, televisions, cell phones, computers, internet. And don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond grateful to live in a time when I can flush the toilet from the comfort of my own home, but there is still something to be said for simplicity.
Starting the 365Outside Challenge on
January 1, 2015 was the change my family needed to become happier, healthier people. But it did not come naturally. There were days when I hoped the kids would forget to ask, and I could forget to offer. There were days when I had to bribe the kids with the promise of hot chocolate upon our return. There were countless eye rolls and furrowed brows. There was one day, when it was 29 degrees below
freezing, that we only lasted for five minutes. It literally took us longer to put on all our gear than it did for us to call it quits that day. We live in northeastern Massachusetts, where this winter’s snowfall broke just about every record in the books. There was a stretch of 30 days during which we received just shy of 8 feet of snow. The plow piles were so huge that they didn’t finally melt completely on our street until two weeks before Memorial Day, and in the city they lasted well into the summer.
But what we will remember of 2015 will have very little to do with how horrible the winter was. We will remember morning walks down the unplowed street under a canopy of glistening trees. We will remember icicles that became swords, light sabers, popsicles, and jewels. There were afternoons filled with sledding, snow forts, and Tonka trucks barreling through the slush. Later there were glorious puddle stomps, dump truck mud adventures, worm hunts underneath the soggy woodpile. 2015 was the year of soggy boots and mittens hanging by the woodstove, jars of imprisoned bugs emptied back into the garden, a bucket for sandy feet by the door. Junior learned to swim and ride a two-wheeler. Little Bear begged to steer the boat and ride along on surf trips with The Captain. We watched countless sunsets over the river as we hurried to pack up a day’s worth of beach gear and get the boat back before dark. We hiked, we picnicked, we adventured. For us, 2015 will not go down in history as the worst winter on record. It will go down as the best.
Today, there are 100 days left in the year 2015. 100 days to change the way you remember this year. 100 days to make outdoor play your norm. By pledging to get outside every day for the remainder of 2015, you can refresh your life, both physically and mentally.
To read more about the 365Outside Challenge, click here.
To learn more about the health benefits of daily outdoor activity, check out our Get Up and Go Factsheet available here.
Why wait until New Years to make a resolution? You have 100 days to set a happier, healthier precedent before the new year starts. Are you ready to refresh your life?