We recently had the privilege of attending Americade, held in Lake George, New York, the beginning of June. Americade is a motorcycle rally. The first year we went, back in 2010, there were 30,000 motorcyclists who attended. Not a rowdy bunch, but a group of older motorcyclists who just loved to ride.
We’ve gone to Americade three times in the past five years – something we had wanted to do years before, but the kids were younger and it was hard to take the time away. Adding to that was that only two people fit on a motorcycle. Americade wasn’t the ideal family vacation for us while the kids were younger, for sure.
Nostalgically, Americade is where the first ideas behind the time to play project began. We were driving around, enjoying the scenery, when I started to wonder at what age we begin to prioritize life enjoyment and take that most important “time to play”.
Before it’s too late…
But that’s a topic for another discussion.
Today’s reflection is simple.
One thing I love about riding on motorcycles is how big and vast your surroundings can be. It is a completely different experience than driving in a car. Living on Long Island where things are generally flat, I was amazed when we rode through the Green Mountains in Vermont. Driving up and down those roads with huge mountains on both sides of us was a most unforgettable and humbling experience.
This year at Americade, I could not help but marvel at the amazing, massive pine trees we drove past in Lake George.
I have a lot of time to think when I ride as a passenger on the back of Jim’s motorcycle and not on my own. I couldn’t help but wonder if the residents who live in the beautiful area we drove through notice those amazing trees. Or, because they live there, do they not notice them.
I wondered if they noticed the smells of the passing foliage that change as you drive down the roads. I couldn’t help but wonder if they noticed, or, because they lived there, if they did not.
Or, perhaps, were they too busy running through their day that they forget to notice.
I’m sure that most of us rush around without really noticing the beautiful things we may encounter in our day. Do we notice the sunshine? Or, if it’s raining, do we notice the beauty of a reflection in a puddle? Or the smell of fresh air? Or a bird chirping? Do we stop to take it in and to embrace the amazing beauty around us, or do we just pass by without noticing because of a priority to on our “to do” list?
I have come to realize that there is so much beauty in every moment of every day.
Now, as I have become more aware of my surroundings and the importance to enjoy life, I try very hard to remember to notice and appreciate things I encounter every day.
It was not always like this. I truly had years where I was shocked to notice leaves on the trees and wondered when that might have happened. And then there were the years I was shocked to notice the leaves had fallen off the trees; again, wondering how I could have possibly missed that.
I was just too busy to see.
It is a privilege to see the beauty in the world. To stop, even for a moment, to soak it in; to catch a smile from a passerby; to smell the ocean air.
Personally, it is a privilege for me to notice something that I might have missed in those past years.
Look at the beauty in the world. Embrace it. Welcome it.
After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is time to play.
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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life. Please see www.timetoplay.com for more information.