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This is not me or my friend Allie.

I have written these words before, but I’ll write them again: I am not what you’d call athletic. I lack hand-eye coordination and any desire to move fast, except to avoid danger. This is pretty true in all seasons, including my favorite, summer. Beach volleyball? A jog on the packed sand? A swim, perhaps? My family asks, looking down at me in my lounge chair. I’ve got the umbrella set up, a baseball cap on, and have just located my reading sunglasses in my bottomless tote.

No thanks, I tell them, I’d prefer to sit on the beach and read 150 pages of a novel than dive through the ocean waves. You go have fun.

But then I would imagine my kids growing up and thinking back to summers of their youth, remembering me as the oceanfront ghost. “Mom came with us to the beach, right?” They would ask each other, gray haired, sitting by some fire and telling their own children and grandchildren about me. “I guess,” Zoe would shrug. “I think she used to hand me money for ice cream every once in awhile. But maybe that was dad.”

One reason I got off my butt this summer is to change the course of that future narrative. I needed to start building a more active legacy. Not just for my children to talk about when I’m long gone, but so that I would create experiences for myself now as well. Those tales written by authors that I read on the beach don’t quite count, even if they are compellingly real to me.

And so I decided to paddle board.  Continue reading here.