Take a Break

TT70.jpgIt’s July 16, just about the midpoint of our unofficial three months of summer, and I have to remind myself and possibly many of you too, that despite the day-to-day obstacles we face, large and small, we need to take a moment to relax.

I’ve been reflecting over many of the topics that I have addressed in recent blogs and will admit that they are a heady and serious lot. We’ve covered topics ranging from racism and ineffectual education policies to contaminated drinking water. These are somber subjects that require our attention, and when I took my oath of office, I promised to serve you in the best possible way. I hope that I have been diligent in these responsibilities.

But no oath of office requires me to suggest, as I am now, that it’s a very good time to simply enjoy and relax in whatever fashion you choose. I would suggest that family is the starting point for all of this. Do something with your family members, an outing or a backyard cookout, that brings you together in a convivial and enjoyable fashion.  If you have a family member who is estranged, it’s an ideal time to offer an olive branch and bring them closer to the fold.

South Jersey is peppered with activities that are free or low-cost. I urge you to take part in an activity or visit a destination that you’ve been thinking about, yet never attempted. A friend of mine who has lived in South Jersey for 15 years finally went to the University of Pennsylvania Museum recently. While compact, it was loaded with art and artifacts from Africa to Europe to North and South America. He bragged that during the summer, everyone gets the student price: $10.

I’ve always believed there’s a small degree of adventure when you place yourself in a new experience. If you’re the type who likes lists, this is an ideal opportunity to create one and start checking it off.

Sometimes we need a nudge to take an action, and I’m actually offering a few specific possibilities. They’re not new, but they are a nice reminder of what you might have done in the past or should pick up once again.

Hiking. Take the family and the dog, if you have one.

Gardening/Yardwork. This one burns calories, and no one will complain about your attention to the house.

Throw a ball. Any ball. Tennis, baseball, football, basketball. There’s even Frisbee. (OK, it’s not a ball.) Get a group of kids and remind them that there are more fun things to be had in the summer then playing video games. A neighborhood pick-up game sounds just about right!

Swimming. What some people regard as the perfect exercise because it’s easy on the bones and joints.

Biking. Form a family team. (Just be sure to wear a helmet.)

What you actually do is a matter of personal taste, style and willingness to try something new.

But this entire topic and my modest list are a way of expressing that while there is a time for seriousness, we should always make time to have fun, especially with my family and friends.

And if you’ve come up with an interesting way that your family enjoys the summer, I’d love to hear from you. I’ll share it with readers, and maybe we can start a new trend in South Jersey.

Also don’t forget libraries, museums and nature centers (especially enjoyable during a rainy day). Libraries, for example, are the best source possible for that “summer read,” but they also offer a calendar full of activities for everyone, regardless of age. In Burlington County, just visit http://www.bcls.lib.nj.us/events/calendar for a glimpse of the variety.

I truly believe if you have fun, you will feel better, think more clearly and face the world with a little more optimism. So get out and have fun! That’s my take. What’s yours?

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