Happy to be humming instead of buzzing
When I was 11, I was calmly flipping through the paper with a highlighter in hand when my mom walked into the room and regarded me curiously. She stood there for a moment while I drew a bright yellow box onto the page.
“What are you up to?” she asked somewhat cautiously.
“Oh, Heather and I are looking for an apartment. Don’t worry, you can come visit us whenever you want. You can even help us paint. We’re going to paint it zebra-striped.” She smiled, “Okay. Just remember to have fun being a kid, too…”
When I was 12, I was pushing a coffee can back up onto a shelf in my bedrom closet when my mom walked in.
“What are you up to?” She inquired.
“Oh, just counted the money I’ve been saving from petsitting, my birthday, you know.”
“Oh yeah? So how much do you have in that there?”
I smiled widley, “$632.56.” I had a bank account opened that very same day.
At 16, I was dreaming about my future husband, praying for his wellbeing, and eagerly anticipating the day we would meet. By 17, we were dating. At 18, we were engaged and would be married before I hit 19. I would have our first baby 12 days shy of my 20th birthday, and had our second at 21. We bought our first home at 22, separated at 23 and were back together before we were 24.
I have kept my life rolling along at a no-nonsense pace, fantasizing about my next adventure.
And then I turned 25. Everyone around me is immersed in the hustle-and-bustle that has been my life for the past nine years. Everyone is getting married, flitting from this baby shower to that bachelorette party, hanging out with friends all weekend, house hunting on the weeknights, going to job interviews across the country, starting grad school, egging on their friends on Facebook to guess if it will be team blue or team pink this time.
Meanwhile, I’ve settled into a job that is remarkably rewarding, working with people whose company I enjoy. I have two daughters who no longer require diaper changes or wake us up at all hours of the night. They entertain each other, and they entertain us. My marriage is solid. I’m in love. On most nights when I’m not at work and the weather allows it, my husband and I can be found sipping wine on our deck and talking late into the night.
While everyone’s life around me is buzzing, mine has become a quiet hum. And as it turns out, I like humming. See, the thing about humming is that it leaves you time to do things you haven’t had a chance to do when you were buzzing. Things like getting a sitter for the day and going biking in Jim Thorpe.
Scot and I left the girls with my mom and stepdad, and headed northward for some fresh air, exercise and time to ourselves. Jim Thorpe proved to be an excellent spot to do this. We literally just punched “Jim Thorpe” into our GPS and asked the first person we passed to point us to the nearest bike path. After our trip, I learned the “best” way to do things would have been to catch the shuttle up north and ride back down into Jim Thorpe so we could check out all the waterfalls; we still had a very scenic ride — and it was free, which doesn’t hurt, either.
We stopped frequently to check out our surroundings. The trains that littered the side of the trail toward the beginning of the path were equal parts fascinating and eerie. I mused that the broken down and abandoned locomotives with their shattered windows, spray-painted bellies and random debris looked like a scene straight out of “The Walking Dead.” Like, I was pretty sure if we hung around long enough, a zombie would almost definitely stumble toward one of the punched out windows and try to chew our faces off. We dared each other to go inside. Neither of us would. And when we hopped on our bikes to pedal the hell out of there as fast as we could, my pulse quickened and I didn’t have the guts to look back to see if there were undead following us. There totally might have been.
We biked about two hours one way, not hesitating to stop and explore. Had we taken the shuttle and biked south instead of north, we would have completely missed the lonely cavern with the marbled ceiling. Despite the dark, dank interior, this cave was way less ominous than the trains.
I’m convinced that there’s nothing better than exploring new territory with the one you love. The day belonged to us, and so did the world. Or at least, Jim Thorpe did. After a solid three hours of biking, we ambled around the quiant little town, trying to open cathedral doors, peering in shop windows, and disappearing inside pubs for a guilt-free brew.
Eventually we became ravenous enough that drinking our calories wasn’t going to cut it. I was so excited when we passed by a hole-in-the-wall, Alice-in-Wonderland inspired cafe/tea room. As a tea enthusist, I’m not sure why I didn’t immediately order up an herbal brew — maybe it was the heat, the then pertinent time crunch, or the distracting growl from my stomach, but for whatever reason, I didn’t actually partake in any tea. We did however enjoy some checkers. I kicked Scot’s chess-snob butt.
And the food! Oh my God. We split a steamy cup of crab chowder and the Ellen Focaccia sandwich. The chowder was ridiculously decadent, and while it had a bit more of a spicy bite than I typically can tolerate, it was offset by the creaminess of the soup and I couldn’t stop shoveling spoonful after spoonful into my mouth. I think Scot was glad he got his fair share of the chowder first while I went to town on the sandwich.
The focaccia bread was obviously fresh, still piping hot from the oven and super soft. It was stuffed with mushrooms, bell peppers, chicken, cheese, tomatoes, and I’m pretty sure magic. There had to be some magic in there. One of the best sandwiches I’ve had to date. We totally did not expect that such a tiny little noshery would host such a memorable menu. While there are a few places we wanted to stop and didn’t get a chance to, the next time we visit Jim Thorpe we will definitely make sure there is time to revisit this gem.
I’ll confess, I still might steal away to peruse homes for sale online and fantasize about the day when we can upgrade from our modest two bed and one bath condo. But I love our modest two bed and one bath condo. We’ve put a lot of elbow grease into it and made it ours. I love our soft track-lit kitchen, our living room with the big, open cathedral ceiling and tons of natural light, and our quiet little deck. I love sharing this small space together — we’re never too far away from each other. And while I might refer to “when we have another baby” with borderline obnoxious frequency, I’m in no rush. I’m enjoying the calm of parenting children who can dress themselves and express their thoughts clearly and imaginatively. Two kids who I know well, who I’ve tweaked my parenting styles as needed so I can better mother them.
I love the dynamic between the four of us and I’m not ready to learn the dynamic of the five of us yet. For once, I’m not looking for the next adventure. I’m surveying, soaking up and loving the now. I love this life immensely. I’m happy to keep on humming.