A Thirst For The #summerofrich

I had planned to give this as a gift to Rich for Father’s Day but (spoiler alert) I guess I just couldn’t wait that long, LOL!

I made it for him and in honour of him. 

So from now on whatever trails our #summerofrich adventures lead us to Rich will always be well hydrated with his new, “one of a kind”, personalized and insulated water bottle that will keep his drinks really cold and refreshing no matter how lost we may get or how hot it is outside.  

Every summer since its conception about five years ago now I like to give a brief synopsis of what #summerofrich is for any newcomers to my page who may be wondering what the heck it is exactly. 

It began with a simple exclamation one (very) early Friday morning at the end of June as we stood waving goodbye to our three kids as they drove away on the bus to camp for the next seven and a half glorious weeks (I actually think 2 of them were staff at the time and may have already left for camp, but not important!).

They were barely out of the parking lot yet when Rich turned to me with the biggest smile on his face and shouted “It’s the Summer of Rich”!, and wasted no time at all getting started. Our first activity on the #summerofrich agenda that year (and every year after that until last summer) was already scheduled for later that morning. We were off to the spa for pedicures.

The #summerofrich meant that he now had a seven plus week break; a well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break from the burdensome (I use that term, not him) role he plays as both mom and dad, chef, psychologist, schlepper, grocery bagger and much, much more for the other forty something weeks of the year; a role which he has so selflessly taken on for the better part of seven years now.

Last summer when the devastating (yes it was devastating to many) announcement came that overnight camps would not be running due to Covid-19 I thought for a brief moment that we should cancel the #summerofrich all together seeing as Rich would not be getting his well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break. Then I realized that we don’t have to cancel it at all, we just needed to pivot somewhat, after all we no longer had all three kids away for the summer anymore anyways.

And tada, the #summerofrich 2.0 was born. This past year we pivoted a lot due to Covid restrictions. And although our summers may not be as carefree as they once we’re, the #summerofrich has become an incredible outlet for the both of us. If you were to tell me 5 years ago that I’d be enjoying the great outdoors, hiking trails all over our beautiful Province of Ontario and exploring the beauty of nature I’d have said you were crazy.

It’s now become the perfect way to take care of our mental health, have fun and discover places we never imagined before. 

What a healthy outlet we have found to do together and I’m so glad that sharing our adventures brings so much joy to others as well. Hashtag #summerofrich has created quite a following!

I’m a planner and I love spending time researching and finding new and adventurous things for us to do. I take my job very seriously (hey, you never know but maybe one day we will even complete the entire length of the Bruce Trail, all 900 KMs of it!).

But most of all when we needed to pivot last summer, the #summerofrich 2.0 took on a whole new life of its own and has made many of our adventures that much more meaningful and memorable too. Our kids have even learned to embrace our passion in small doses, call it “Pandemic boredom” but hey, I’ll take it! 

Yes, the #summerofrich may have started out as a well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break for Rich during the seven or eight weeks that the kids were away at camp but it’s become so much bigger than that, so much so that as we pivoted this past year we also continued to discover even more adventures with every changing season.  Me and winter do NOT get along but if you add the hashtag #summerofrich next to it then count me in! (And it’s a good thing that his new water bottle can also keep his drinks nice and warm as well!!)

#twopointoh #learntopivot #insulatedwaterbottle #earlyfathersdaypresent #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #nature #hiking #getmoving #yourmentalhealthmatters #youareenough #family #relationshipgoals

I Need To Climb That Mountain First

It was exactly one year ago today that I made one of the most courageous decisions of my life. I should be shouting from the rooftops today that I am one year smoke free but instead I am sitting here beating myself up (as usual) as I write this because at some point in mid July after being smoke free for 6 whole months, I gave into my urge to smoke and gave myself yet another reason to feel like a failure. 

A great many of you have probably already heard this story many times over the past year so bear with me as I tell it one more time for those of you who haven’t heard it before. It was a year ago today that I lay in bed on day fourteen of 2020 (you know, that time when we still thought 2020 was gonna be a great year). I  was recuperating from a concussion that had occurred the day after New Year’s Day from a fainting episode (see I already knew better than to think 2020 was gonna be a great year).  By now, smoking was becoming less and less enjoyable to me as I continued to battle the ongoing symptoms of my concussion and just knowing that the last thing I had done before the concussion occurred was smoke a cigarette (well only half to be exact since I had to put it out quickly as I was feeling like I may faint) it was also beginning to cause me several symptoms of PTSD as well every time I attempted to light up.

I know from everyone’s words of encouragement and supportive dialogue back in July when I told you that I started smoking again that I should not be beating myself up today or any other day for that matter and that I should also not be seeing it as yet another failure in my life but my depressive mind just won’t see it any other way. 

I was quite proud of myself when I quit that day and for several months that followed I hardly missed it at all but like with most addictions or addictive behaviours, sometimes we may have to try many times before we can actually get it right. 

By the time July rolled around I was in a very dark place and the cravings were overwhelming me and so I gave in or as my inner critic would tell me, I gave up. You see, smoking is, in it’s own sick way very soothing for me and it helps to relax me when I’m feeling conflicted or anxious but still I can’t help but feel like I have not only failed myself but my husband and children too every time I light up.

I think about quitting every day and just about every time I have a cigarette.  The effects that come from smoking are back to where they were a year ago and you would think that would be a good enough reason to quit, but unlike a year ago I’m just not in a place right now that I feel I could be successful if I tried.

At least I know that when I’m good and ready to that I can always try again since I’ve already done it before (and more than once). But for now I just have too many other mountains I’m trying to climb first and the thought of not having that pack of cigarettes in my pocket as I attempt to climb to the top of that mountain is like forgetting to put on your helmet or tie on your harness as you start to climb.

Thank you for continuing to follow my journey and for not giving up on me as I attempt to climb that mountain.  

#climbingmountains #addictions #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #dontsufferinsilence #yourmentalhealthmatters #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #panicattacks #selfcare #suicideawareness #endthestigmatogether #innercritic #bekindtoyourself