LEARNING HOW TO RELAX -- December 4, 2015

My wife, Robin, says that I never sit down.   Actually, just the other day, she asked me to come up with one word that describes me.    After the typical whimsical and sarcastic answers I came up with "RESTLESS."  I think that nails it.   I have a hard time relaxing.   I have a hard time just being. 

The view of the Atlantic Ocean from the balcony of my suite in West Palm Beach, Florida -- November 30, 2015
Which may explain why I've never been a "beach" person.    I love the ocean (it mesmerizes me) and I love playing in it...for 15 minutes.    But the idea of just sitting or lying on the beach for an extended period of time has never appealed to me.   This week, however, I've done a pretty good job of just being.  Even Robin was impressed.   We both took this week off....her from her job in the business world...and mine from "teacher world."  We learned a long time ago that we travel well together.   Very rarely do we disagree when traveling...and when we do it is usually just a simple miscommunication (on my part). So, to the disbelief of a lot of people, I don't mind the 15 hour drive from Manchester Pennsylvania to West Palm Beach, Florida.   We talk...we laugh...and we enjoy each other's company.   (We have to....or else it would be a very long ride in our little Chevy Cruz!)

Cycling in Florida.   The city of West Palm Beach is in the distance.  -- November 30, 2015
I brought my bike this year.   In the past...when I would travel...I would only bring my running shoes.  Those days are over for me now.    I've learned recently that I have a pretty messed up spine.   Probably the result of not taking care of myself the way I should have years ago.   According to the doctor, running didn't cause my back to hurt...but running sure won't help it either.  Biking, however, makes me feel great...which is totally awesome.     I didn't like running at all....but I LOVE cycling.   It makes me feel free...it clears my head...and as I'm getting older it keeps me moving and keeps me feeling alive.

One of the many drawbridges in my way -- November 30, 2015
On Monday, I left for my ride without any plan...and it showed.   With no thought into where I was going I ended up leaving at the wrong time of day and took every wrong turn imaginable.   The result was too much traffic, drawbridges, and the sudden disappearance of the, what seemed to be endless, bicycle lanes.  Don't get me wrong....I surely am not complaining about riding my bike...I just came to the realization that I needed to a least look at a map before I took off on Tuesday.   

My rides on Tuesday and Wednesday took me north to the town of Jupiter, Florida.  This is what I was looking for.   A seven mile stretch on route A1A with an incredible view of the ocean.  The words of Meriwether Lewis echoed in my head, "Ocean in view!  O the joy!" (I am a complete nerd.) These are sites that I just don't get to see often and they do bring an incredible sense of awe and happiness to me.  

An incredible view of the ocean from route A1A in Jupiter, Florida -- December 1, 2015
My ride on Wednesday was a little longer than Tuesday's ride.   On Wednesday, I crossed over to Jupiter Inlet to check out the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.  The light house sits at the junction of the Indian River and Jupiter Inlet.  For thousands of years, the land it now sits on was a meeting place for ancient Indian tribes.   In 1854, President Franklin Pierce signed an order to set aside the 61 acre site for for a lighthouse.   Construction was interrupted from 1856 to 1858 due to the Third Seminole War.   Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse was finally lit for the first time in 1860.  

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse -- December 2, 2015
This trip has been so much more than biking for me.    I've been able to spend a week of uninterrupted time with my wife...and I have been able to relax.   Usually, when Robin and I travel, we like to go site see and visit places.   This week we decided to just to stay put, hang out, and decompress.   Our week has consisted of walks on the beach, playing in the ocean, reading, relaxing, and a GAME OF THRONES marathon.   We checked out the movie, CREED.   Had some incredible Thai food, went for some delicious ice-cream at Sloan's Ice Cream, and had coffee with an amazing couple, Audra & Steve Hoover.   Audra and Steve lived across the street from me before I married Robin.  They moved to Jupiter, Florida about four years ago.   It was so nice to meet up with, and get reacquainted with, such good friends.  

Sloan's Ice Cream -- December 2, 2015
So many decisions at Sloan's Ice Cream -- December 2, 2015
Audra & Steve Hoover // David & Robin Raymond -- December 3, 2015
On Thursday, I planned to just go out for a short ride.  After four straight days of riding I should have just rested...but I had a goal.  I was eleven miles away from reaching 2,000 cycling miles for the year.   I rode just over eleven and a half miles.    I set this goal at the beginning of 2015 because I needed to.   2014 was a tough year for me in a lot of ways.    Setting this goal was important...and accomplishing it was a necessity for me both mentally and physically.   Feeling good about yourself is important.   I felt good about myself yesterday.

Mile 2,000 for 2015.  Blue Heron Blvd crossing over to Singer Island -- December 3, 2015
Robin and I woke up this morning, our last day in Florida, to sounds of rain pouring outside.   No ride today....just relaxation.    When I sat down to write this the rain was coming down in buckets....since then the clouds have pushed out to sea.  Looks like I get to go out and enjoy the beach one last time.   One more day of nothing but enjoying my time off with my wife...the woman that I love, and the woman who has, with great pains, taught me how to relax.  

Life is a journey, not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- December 4, 2015

Playing in the ocean -- December 2, 2015