Spoke Talk: Adults need playtime, too
Those who ride with me know I tend to giggle my way down the No Pedaling Required trail, or NPR. I can’t help it. The creative design of the trails’ flow and features make me feel as though I’m dancing down Emerald Mountain. Giddiness consumes me, and I am a child again, capable of letting the pure joy of the moment fill me with happiness. Emerald’s endless trail system is a true playground for adults.
As I was riding up Larry’s yesterday, I wondered to myself, “Are we selfish to spend our money, time and resources on enjoying and maintaining our trail systems that serve as adult playgrounds?” In fact, our society would be a better place if there were more places and opportunities for adults to play.
America was built and thrives on hard work. However, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. But not only dull. Anxiety and depression often tag along with their buddy, stress, and we all know that living in Steamboat does not excuse us from personal and societal responsibilities.
Many of us work multiple jobs and long days just to maintain our status quo. As a community, we face affordable housing concerns, environmental damage and neglect and an unacceptably high suicide rate. Spending hours every week biking on our playground can easily be viewed as a luxury not many can afford or as an unnecessary use of money.
We need to start looking at playing outside as essential for adults, too. We know the importance of outdoor activity on the health of our children, and it is no different for adults. It keeps our heads, bodies and spirits happy. Since all facets of our life are an intricate web of connections, taking time to nurture these often disregards areas of our well-being and affects the rest of our lives. The benefits also affect our close-knit community.
We Steamboat residents seem to instinctively understand the importance (not luxury) of a balanced lifestyle. That doesn’t mean we don’t work as hard. It simply means playing isn’t at the bottom of the priority list. It doesn’t mean we don’t invest money, time and resources into other aspects of our community’s well-being that deserve attention. It simply means the projects that maintain our outdoor lifestyle get a cut, too, because the successful functioning of a system is reliant on the strength of all of its parts working together.
So, the next time you take a step outside into our beautiful backyard, I hope you don’t feel guilty for taking the time to play. As you weave along our beautiful trails, consider how you can compound the beneficial effects of your play to better your life and your community.
Routt County Riders is the local source for grassroots advocacy and information for all types of cycling. To volunteer or for more information, contact the group at facebook.com/rcriders, routtcountyriders.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kirsten Tidik is a Routt County Riders member.
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