Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer with a cherry on top

This summer I plan on doing a regular outing every Thursday that is different and fun and in nature. Maybe it's a new place or maybe an old favorite. Either way, I will plan the itinerary and invite a bunch of friends with kids and hope for the best. I made a promise to myself to practice having the mentality that it is 75% about me and my kids and 25% about sharing the fun with friends. I want to avoid allowing myself to be even remotely disappointed if no one else joins us but rather pleasantly surprised if anyone does. It's definitely a fine line between being selfish or thinking about others. After all, there is a big thrill to be had in seeing the joy of the moment that I had a little hand in helping make happen. Maybe that's why I love and excel at being an organizer.

I managed to convince two other moms to drive about fifty miles to a cherry farm to pick fresh cherries. I picked cherries once as a child and remember fond memories about my experience and wanted to share the same with my own children...and good friends, too, of course. The farm seemed waaaaaaaaaay out there...far away from any place any of us knew. I dreaded the worst of complaints but instead saw happy eager faces ready for something new and different like me. One of my friends did admit, though, that the drive to such an unknown destination was a bit out of her comfort zone, but I totally sensed a willingness for adventure and a chance to change the limits of that comfort zone.

I totally understand that feeling. Three years ago or so I felt the same way. I made excuses why I wouldn't go, like it being too far, too weird, too whatever. But, with the help of a few (what I considered) adventurous friends, I made a conscious effort to push myself past that fear and instead welcome the opportunity to broaden my horizons and step more and more out of my comfort zone. As a result, not only did I discover some wonderful places that I had no idea existed near where I live (and have lived my whole life), but it actually changed me as a person. The more I did it, the less I was afraid and the more daring I got. I'm not exactly jumping out of airplanes, but I certainly make less excuses and take more action. I no longer label myself as the one that doesn't do something unless I over-analyze it and consider all of the consequences. I am finally a do-er and it feels great.

This is all weird for me because I find myself in the position to lead the way for others to take the daring plunge, too. It's a strange feeling when you label yourself for so many years a certain way, then turn around and can no longer claim that comfortable distinction. Where once I turned down a group trip to pick apples an hour away or hunt for owl pellets in an area that I didn't know, I'm now the leader encouraging others to follow me in my adventures.

Today while we were picking and, uh hum, sampling the cherries, I had a few quiet times where I looked up at the trees and clear blue sky and marveled at the absolute beauty of the cherries and the near perfect moment. Honestly, it was heavenly and I felt completely in my element and well within my comfort zone. I didn't care that my kids were dirty and covered in cherry juice or even worry about the "long" drive home or if anyone else was having a good time. It simply felt peaceful to be there just in that moment. I actually felt like it was a shame that everyone else wouldn't want to be there enjoying the time like we were, where a few years ago others probably thought the same thing about my reluctance to join them. I totally understand because I've been there, but damn it feels great to be on the other side.


  1. I have been cooking with tart cherries for the past six months. They are a great addition to any of the recipes I have used them. They add a good zing to the taste. I recently discovered a free tart cherry book (with tart cherry recipes). It is a good book and best of all it is free. It is called Tart Cherry Health Report. You can get it from Traverse Bay Farms

  2. I hope to join you on the other side soon, too! But at least I picked cherries! Damn near had a panic attack on the way there, but I did it. I'm glad you organize so well. If you can use the gift of being a good planner, I'll utlize my gift of being a good sport.