In July my family and I visited Glacier National Park in Montana. ‘Visited’ is probably an understatement. We fully immersed ourselves in the experiences available within the park for 2 full days. For anyone who hasn’t been there, Glacier is one of the greatest places on Earth. Full of spectacular scenery, animals and, as the name would indicate, glaciers.
One of our many hikes in the park was along a glacial-fed stream. As a reward after the hike, my 3 children and I swam in the swiftly flowing, ice-cold stream. We slid down the long, flat rocks just under the crystal clear water. The rocks were like giant non-yellow Slip N’ Slides that dropped us into deep, swirling pools. It was the kind of waterpark that would have offered Pebbles and Bam Bam a yabba-dabba-doo time.
Despite the very cold water, our hardy viking children frolicked and played as if the water was the perfect temperature. Which it may have been, given the July heat that was eating the glaciers like Joey Chestnut.
While my kids and I swam and played in the frigid trailside stream, a regular trickle of hikers trekked past us. After a few minutes I spotted an interesting trend. The hikers all stopped to watch us. As they did, they looked on with a sense of envy. It was as if we were more interesting than the epic natural beauty that surrounded us. And despite the fact that everyone there was on vacation, my kids appeared to be having a better time than anyone else.
Why? Because we weren’t just following the trails. We were diving into the water. We were playing. My kids and I were drinking it all up and fully experiencing all the wonder the national park had to offer.
When I stopped swimming to watch my kids awhile, I saw what the spectators saw. My kids were like otters in the water. They were having more fun than anyone else in the vast national park. They were finding the full joy in a glacier-fed stream. They were as alive as humans get. It was clear that we were watching a lifetime memory in the making.
Be the otter. Dive into all that life has to offer. Take on adventures. Play and enjoy the simplest things. Create fun. Do what others wish they were doing. Be a model for others to follow. Life is a one way trip. Make sure to experience each day fully, both in your work and in your play. Don’t settle for memories of watching others having fun. Experience it for yourself. Or someday you will wish you had.
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