It seems like it should be obvious, but evidently not - at least to me.

[boat dogs for your time]

I have never been a super-competitive person, although there are a few athletic things I consider myself to be good at, and I enjoy challenging myself with others in those pursuits. For me it’s waterskiing, mountain biking, and snow skiing; not necessarily in that order.

Since I started working full-time, and now with kids, I don’t have nearly the free time I used to for athletic pursuits of any kind. I didn’t even ride my bike for the better part of EIGHT years, which is a shocking number for me to think about, by the way. But I’ve been riding again for the last four years, and absolutely loving it. The trails I ride are extremely challenging, and I always feel great after tackling them, even on a bad day.

About 10 days ago now, I had a minor crash on my bike - I’ve had far worse falls that did not result in injury - and banged up my right thumb. It’s not worthy of medical attention, but it hurts enough that I can’t ride my bike in the woods.

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This picture belies the amazing trails that surround this field in Burke, Vermont. The Kingdom Trails are legendary, and fully deserve the reputation.

I don’t really like running. But last night, I was feeling stir-crazy so I put on my shoes and told my wife I was going for a run. Mind you, it’s 7:30pm, the sun has set, and it’s 79 degrees with 99% humidity outside. She looked at me like I was crazy. I wasn’t sure she was wrong.

But I ran three miles in 28 minutes and loved it. Never mind the sweat pouring down my face. I feel so much better when my muscles are a little bit sore, and when I’ve pushed myself physically. It seems I keep forgetting that I really need to challenge myself physically in order to feel... like myself. And my realization is that it doesn’t matter if it’s not my favorite activity. It’s the challenge that matters. I could tell my mood was better when I came back, and has been better today than yesterday - not that it was bad, but I actually feel great today. I have more energy and I’m excited to go run again, weirdly.

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The same can be said for working on my cars (or boats). I find a lot of tasks absolutely daunting, and sometimes I shy away from attempting a job because of the unknown. But when I do tackle something, I always feel better having done it myself, no matter how difficult it ended up being. Every time, I think, “man I should do more of my own work” but time restrictions again come into play.

I guess all I’m saying is, sometimes you just don’t realize how important something is to you, until you go without it, then return to it - even in a different form. Or more generally, just because you don’t think you like something, try it anyway. Wait a while and try it again. You never know.