My standards for a “productive” day during the summer are exceptionally low. As long as I can cross one household chore off my to-do list and get in some sort of physical activity I’m feeling pretty good. (I know this completely goes against the incredibly popular #workgrind #bossbitch #illsleepwhenimdead vibe that is so popular right now– I’m less ‘work hard play hard’ more ‘work medium play until you’re tired enough to chill on the couch’ right now.)
This means that when I had the responsibility of keeping 3 dogs at my thimble-sized house last weekend I knew I would need to wear them out early or they were going to make my love of being lazy much less enjoyable. So, I decided to take the entire crew out on a little morning hike with me. Which could easily have been an absolutely genius plan or could have been a complete disaster– but I was willing to risk it if it meant hours of my afternoon could be spent lounging in my yard reading (for the record: I am not reading a trendy/blog-chic book– I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series, again, and I love it).
Luckily, earlier in the week I went for a little hike with one of my friends and her 3 and 4 year old kiddos. I figured if two preschoolers could manage this route I could manage it with three unruly dogs. For some reason those seemed like very comparable groups to me…
And it was a complete success! The dogs loved it and wore themselves chasing every squirrel, blowing leaf, and new smell they could find. Then, when they ran out of those things they just chased each other. I loved my feeling of accomplishment having tuckered out the pups before it was even 9 am. Plus, I’m lucky enough to be on summer vacation, so I can plan to hike on weekday mornings when I know it won’t be busy. This means I didn’t even have to worry about trying to keep all of the dogs on their leashes (though I’m sure that would have been a thoroughly entertaining site). Ellie and Riley are good enough listeners they don’t get too far, and Teton is so unbelievably needy/attached he rarely leaves my side for a long enough time that I even need to call him back.
I had planned for the post to be a touching/insightful/inspiring piece about the importance of spending time on your own and taking solo adventures. I do completely think that exploring on your own is so important and something I truly need to work on. But, let’s be honest: I really only went on this mini-hike out of selfish-wear-the-dogs-out reasons, not any spiritual-take-time-to-center-yourself reasons.
And that’s totally ok! I will a l w a y s be the first person to back that up. Good intentions are fantastic, but the part that matters the most is actually doing it. Who cares if I took the dogs hiking not out of my deep love for nature, but my desire to get lost in Hogwarts? Who cares if you go for a run to fit into that dress instead of your love for fitness? Who cares if you bought those shoes because they are cute and think that the pair that gets sent to Africa is a stellar bonus? The important part is that you are doing good things! And they make you feel good. And all of the other benefits are icing on the cake.
That may not be the most enlightened mini-paragraph that I’ve ever written, but it is totally true.
No matter what your motivation is to get outside, the important thing is that you’re out there. Don’t feel guilty! You’re still braving the bug bites and the sunburns. Good. For. You.
Thanks for reading,