Viewpoints

Now summer’s here, seize family moments

Summer is here! The sun is shining, the grass is green and lush, the strawberries are ripe and the picking is good.

What is on your bucket list for the summer? Will this be the summer you and your family climb Mount Monadnock? Pick blueberries? Canoe Dublin Lake? Are you looking forward to a trip to Story Land, the beach or ice cream?

Have you ever entered the summer full of ideas of things you want to do and then found yourself putting the kids on the bus in September, realizing you missed blueberry season, never got to the ocean and forgot to even look at Mount Monadnock?!

Summer flies by for me. It helps me to make a list of the things I want to do — I never do them all, but it makes me feel like I have used the summer.

These are some of the things I want to do this summer: Eat a lobster (OK, that is on the list every summer), climb Mount Monadnock, kayak at least six different lakes, plant a garden, eat from that same garden (always the challenge), float on my back on Dublin Lake, go camping.

Those of you who are goal-oriented may say my list is very conservative — of course I can do all those things this summer. OK, that may be true. But, I have found that I tend to overlook the very beauty that surrounds me every day. I forget that I can go for a swim or kayak after work within 10 minutes of where I live. I see Mount Monadnock every day and yet I tend to think that I can climb it next week, next month, next year. Why not climb it this weekend?

I have found that life’s opportunities can easily slip through my fingers. I sit on my couch in January thinking about biking and hiking and then when warm weather comes there is always an excuse to not go. It’s too hot out, the black flies are biting, I’m too tired. For crying out loud, as the ad says, “Just Do It.” I know that I am always glad when I get out there and feel the wind in my face, make my muscles work hard, and enjoy the beauty of the day.

At The River Center, we see individuals and families from every kind of financial situation. Some have ample finances, others have trouble making ends meet. But we all live in this beautiful Monadnock region.

We all have free access to the lakes, hiking trails, parks and conservation lands. All our children need to be outdoors, playing and laughing with their moms and dads. Every family needs to strengthen relationships and make shared memories.

So, what would you love to do this summer? Let’s decide together to stop making excuses and start intentionally putting family experiences, big and small, on our calendar and doing them.

Because time marches on and opportunities are fleeting. As I have mentioned before, my husband and I are experiencing the empty nest. We are so thankful that we can look back on picnic suppers and a swim after work, camping trips, hiking Mount Monadnock as a family, with the little ones sliding down the rocks of Marlboro Trail on their bottoms.

Those opportunities are gone now. It didn’t cost much money, it didn’t really take that much time. It just took seizing the moment. We are so thankful we did.

Margaret Nelson is the executive director of The River Center in Peterborough. You can reach her at mnelson@rivercenter.us.

Thank you Margaret for the inspiration you provided today. I am moving the area this summer and decided to create a list of 101 things To Do in the Monadnock region, my bucket list. I am up to 92...you just helped me finish the list. :) Happy Summer! Jeanne

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