The only retiring Swicked Cycles owner James Durand expects he'll do is retiring customers' bikes. Photo submitted

Let’s Experience Life

Over the last few years my family and I have headed south in December and enjoyed a bit of our winter with warmer temperatures and dry riding.

We’ve scheduled the trip at this time of year more due to the school holidays than anything else. We’ve spent some Christmases camping in California.

I try to promote gifts based on experiences rather than new ‘STUFF” for everyone to collect. So camping in a sunny location and the fact that trailer living is not conducive to consumerism, we managed to keep the collecting of toys, games, and junk, to a minimum.

Our trips would be filled with riding, excursions on the water, exploration of the local areas and cultures, and yes, some kid stuff too. It was fun and somewhat educational, and if you ask my kids today, they’ll light up at the memories.

We’d return home with very little “STUFF” and no-one seemed to miss it. Now that Christmas is at home again, the consumerism seems to be creeping back in and I‘m concerned.

People will call me a hypocrite I’m sure, considering I have many big boy toys myself, but between bikes, skis, squash equipment, or my climbing gear (and then some more types of bikes), these all add up to amazing experiences. In the outdoors I’m experiencing new things and managing to stay somewhat healthy and sane in the process. The time I spend with my kids doing these things is far more worthy than buying them something new to place on a shelf after a few months of play time.

A kid’s first bike teaches balance and promotes exploration and independence. A family that rides together is a stronger family than a one staring at a screen together. I’ve seen many strong friendships built through riding or other sport. Grabbing a coffee or beer is a great way to socialize, but I guarantee it’s better after a ride, hike, or climb.

It’s almost impossible to be a minimalist in our society. We’re going to collect ‘STUFF” no matter how hard we try. If we concentrate on experiencing life by doing, rather accumulating, we’ll all be happier, healthier, and more able to get through stressful times. Yes, we have screen time in my house, and my kids got a video game this Christmas, (I’m not stoked, was told balance is important), but as we enter 2022 and COVID ramps up again, none of my resolutions are about growing wealth, buying “STUFF”, but all about experiencing life.

I’ll ride some new trails, maybe I’ll dust off my squash racket and meet some new friends, and maybe make time to get to the climbing gym. And when everyone is exhausted, or snowed in, maybe a good family game of Monopoly.

What are you and your family going to experience in 2022?

I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’

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