Today is my birthday. I am 34 years old. I don't really feel it yet. I am grateful to be celebrating another birthday, especially since I was so sick toward the end of last year.
When I was a kid, having a birthday so soon after Christmas sucked because 1) I was often lumped into the "here is your Christmas AND your birthday present" group and 2) we were usually still on Christmas break so I did not get to have big birthday parties (also this was hampered by the fact that I lived on a Navy base). As I get older, however, I like to think of my birthday as an extension of New Year's. I am not one to make "New Year's Resolutions" because I think we always have the opportunity to better ourselves. Also, I love the "101 Things in 1001 Days" project and am driven more by that than by the date on the calendar.
But I do like to think of new things to do every year.
One year, I thought about how, even though I travel, I do not really do a lot of "touristy" things in my own state of Florida. Not just the theme parks, I do visit those often enough. But the museums, the historical sites, and all of the places I like to visit when I am in a new city. So I made it a point to try to think of my state like a tourist and decide where I wanted to go. I was pleasantly surprised by some of quality museums, particularly in the Tampa Bay area.
This year, I was thinking that I really do not explore the outdoors enough. I live in an area called the Nature Coast, and while I take advantage of the local waterways by both kayak and speedboat, I really do not do enough camping, hiking, or other exploring. I think I will challenge myself this year to see more state parks (I have a state park in my hometown that I have never even visited) as well as other local parks. I want to throw the kayaks into the truck and find a new place to launch. I would like to take the boat out later in the evening and see a sunset on the water, because really, how have I NOT done that yet? I paid for a SCUBA class, as soon as I am healthy enough I am going to get certified so that I can explore more under the water.
Yesterday I decided to spend my birthday at Homosassa Springs State Park. I have been there before, but I thought it was the perfect place to kick off my resolution. I brought the wheelchair with me, but I did manage to walk the entire park (with a few sitting breaks). I only saw one manatee in the river, but I watched it for about 15-20 minutes just enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, the sunshine, and being outside for so long for the first time in weeks.