My 20s and 30s kind of got away from me, I’m ashamed to say. I was pretty focused on my career and worked long days. I made managing editor when I was 29 and had made it to a bigger-city metro paper in Rochester, New York, after that. Then my wife and I bought the Kuna Melba News and as small-business owners, we were pretty well-consumed by the business 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
One of my saddest days during that period was learning that my two sons had logged the most hours at the summer program of the Kuna Boys and Girls Club one year, meaning other families were off on vacations and doing stuff as a family while my boys were at the club.
One time, when I was interviewing for a job, the interviewer asked me what my hobbies were. It was the one questioned I was unprepared for. I was silent. I didn’t have any. I worked. I went to bed. I woke up. I went to work.
So I’m happy to report that I’ve gotten better in my 40s and I’ve actually gone outside and done some things.
Here’s a list of things I’ve started doing in my 40s:
Backpacking. I grew up playing in the woods every day, year-round, building forts, making fires and going camping and canoeing every summer in the Adirondacks. But it was only until my older son, Luke, crossed over into Boy Scouts that I pulled out the old gear from 20 and 40 years ago and started backpacking. Now I’ve done 50-milers and explored many great backcountry places all over Idaho, with still lots more to discover. Idaho has to be one of the most ideal places for backpacking.
Skiing. I still kind of can’t believe that our family lived in the Treasure Valley for nearly 10 years without going to Bogus Basin. Better late than never, though. I cross country skied maybe twice growing up. Other than that, I barely even looked at skis. But at age 44, I learned to ski at Bogus, and I’m glad I did.
Running. Nothing crazy here, just 3 miles at a time just two or three days a week. I started running to get in shape for backpacking. It worked. Don’t expect to see me doing any half-marathons, though. I’m still enjoying running for the sake of running and health.
Shooting. I think I’m officially addicted. I bought a .22 long rifle this year, my first gun ever, and I’ve even gotten a shooting card at Black’s Creek Public Shooting Range. And now my buddies have taken me out to Black Dog Clays south of Boise to shoot clays, and now I’m dreaming of a shotgun. Of course, if I get into hunting, I’ll need a .270 or a .30-06. There’s also just something about a single-shot, break-action shotgun, don’t you think? Then, another friend let me shoot his M-1 Garand, and I think I fell in love a little bit.
Fly fishing. Again, it’s good to have friends who have done all this already. Two of my good friends took me out fly fishing, and I can’t believe how quickly three hours can go by. My blood pressure must have dropped at least 20 points. Now, if I can only figure out the catching part.
As I creep up on my 50th birthday in just a couple of short years, I’m looking forward to more adventures. I know most of you already know how great Idaho is for all of these things and more, but it’s worth repeating so that we don’t take it for granted. Idaho is a special place to live, especially if you get out there and take advantage of all that it has to offer.