I took the day off work today and headed north into the Poconos about 90 minutes to meet up with fellow SA blogger Patient Saver. This is about the fifth or so F2F get-together we have had. We both started on SA around the same time in 2006, and met in person for the first time a decade ago when I was driving to New England for a cousin's wedding and realized that I would be driving by where PS lived. That first visit was a meet-up and walk as a break on my drive back to PA from New England, but since then I have visited and stayed over at PS's house, and once we booked rooms at the same B&B in the Poconos. In recent years as we both have older kitties with health problems, we opted to meet for day at a town near where PA, NJ, and NY converge.
The last time we did this was in 2019, and we took a hike to a nearby water fall, did a walking tour downtown and had lunch at a restaurant in town that had been originally opened by a chef from Delmonico's in NYC. This time, with PS having an injured knee, we rented bicycles and headed out to the trail that runs along the Delaware River. I will confess that I was VERY nervous about this, as I had not been on a bike in over a decade, and I'm even more out of shape than usual since I've spent so much time in recent months hunkered down studying for the CFP exam. We didn't get tremendously far (certainly not the 7 or so miles the guy at the bike store estimated we would be able to do before hitting a construction point where the trail is currently blocked), but we did a few miles and I survived and even re-mastered shifting on the bike (which was a 7-speed; my own bike is a 21-speed). I know that PS was up to go further, and I am grateful that she was gracious about my limitations. Maybe after getting back on my own bike and getting much more in shape than I am currently, I'll be able to manage the longer ride.
I'm ridiculously proud of myself for having done this even at the same time as I am embarrassed at my abysmal performance. If you don't push yourself outside your comfort zone, it will just continue to shrink. I know my comfort zone shrank during the pandemic when I spent over a year not driving further than 12 miles from home. So even a 90 minute drive is still more of a challenge than it used to be, when I wouldn't think twice about it. This time, I took my car to the shop and had my annual safety inspection done beforehand "just in case."
After the bike ride, we ate lunch at a nearby seafood restaurant, blissfully uncrowded and blissfully air-conditioned. We both treated ourselves to dessert after our exertions. Then we went and explored some antique stores, which reminded me a lot of my grandparents, both because many of the contents were from the era of the contents in my grandparents' home and because my grandfather owned a stall in an indoor antique-mart for about a decade as a retirement career, and I thus spent a lot of time roaming around antique stores as a child.
It was good to catch up with PS in person and I'm glad that she pushed me outside my comfort zone even if I whined and complained a lot!