Lucky 7’s

Today is my 37th birthday, and that had me thinking about among other things what I was doing in the summer when I was 7, 17 and 27. 

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For my 7th birthday my whole family went to Disney World.  From the pictures it looks like I had a very good time, but truthfully the only 2 things I clearly remember are getting getting very sun burnt and the weird breakfast with the Disney characters.  I am sure I spent the rest of the summer fishing in the Wappengier’s Creek, playing stick ball in the street, riding bmx bikes all over the neighborhood, making forts, swimming in our pool, catching snakes, turtles and crayfish, and doing any number of wonderful outdoor things with other kids from sun up until the street lights came on and we all regretfully went home.  I don’t think kids play like that anymore and it makes me sad.

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When I was 17 I was spending my 7th year at Camp Segowea as a junior councilor.  I was working in the senior village an outing program that did a 4 day hike and 4 day canoe trip over each 2 week session.  It was also the summer I decided not to run anymore.  This provoked a visit from my XC/Track coach who dragged me out of bed on my day off and demanded to know why I wasn’t going to run.  He was counting on me to be one of the top 3 or 4 distance runners on the team that year and he bullied me into running XC one last season.  It did not go well.  Running is too hard an endeavor to do for some else and barely managed to stay on the varsity team for the season. My last high school race was the Federation Meet at Bowdin Park.  I have no idea what I ran, but it was probably close to 19 minutes and I was definitely the last running on my team to finish.  At time I’m I figured that was the last race I would ever run.  For more than 10 years that held true.

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The Summer of 2001 I was living in Portland Oregon with Proxy my cat.  I was working at my first “real” job as a media buyer for an online electronic retailer called 800.com Electronics.  I hadn’t run in almost 10 years, I was smoking a pack a day (and had been for years) and was as fat as I have ever been tipping the scales at 160 lbs.  I loved the city of Portland, I loved my cat, and I loved my job.  It was a stereotypical dot-com start up, lots of venture capital and enthusiasm but not a very good business plan.  It was common for the president to take some of us out for 2 hour lunches at one of the many brew pubs, or to take the whole company out for a golf and picnic all day outings.  I was happy but terribly unhealthy and probably would have stayed that way if it wasn’t for 2 things. 9/11 had a profound impact on me (like it did many of us), in addition to giving me a fear of flying I never had before,  it made me examine my own life and mortality (I’m sure those two things are connected.)  The second thing was, my company went out of business in January of 2002.  That was probably the best thing that could have happened to me at that time.  It motivated me to act on all the things I had been dwelling on since the late summer early fall of my 27th year.  I quit smoking, I moved back to NY, I began work on my degree, and I started running again.

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Now I’m 37.  I’m not ready to expound on the summer of 2011 yet, that will have to wait another 10 years.

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