In the Pacific Northwest, the Winters are mild enough to surf year round. If you're lucky enough to have a share of coast. On the beach there's sand, like any other beach, but mere feet away and there's pine trees. While your bare feet dodge sharp seashells and rocks, pinecones are another worry. The wind gets so fierce that Kiters run the risk of being blown to Baja but they always manage to find their way back to their Eurovan in time for 420, with a little boogie boarding to round off a perfect Northwestern day. Sure, the water is barely above freezing and the sun is somewhere else, tanning other West Coast faces but the surf is steady enough and a good wetsuit, once pissed in, warms the body nicely.

A little whiskey never killed anyone either (except for Jim Morrison.)

I used to do this every Sunday whether it was Rock Climbing season or Snowboarding season. My room mate and I would drive thru McDonald's and get five hamburgers/cheeseburgers apiece and the then the quick hour to the Oregon coast where near freezing water and high winds greeted us. After the dreaded towel-change, where cutting wind and prying eyes met balls and nervous tattoos. With squeezing wetsuit we would run towards white foam with only the flirting seals and gray sky reflected water ahead.

Once I was arrested and the officer sited me as "Medium height, athletic build." Did you hear him? "Athletic build," I was outdoorsy and athletic and a fucking surfing, rock climbing dude which is actually sort of typical for this neck of the woods. In the summer, I would Rock Climb in the Coburg Hills; my back to the sun, my hands raw but perfect and only the squirrels and the stray dog Pepper to hear me pray. With chalk in my hair, I imagined a life of growing slowly older but better at my chosen activities. Be it the crossword or lead climbing Smith Rock, the gray would sink slowly in while my knowledge and skill increased with every passing year.

When the Summer humidity faded to gray rain, I would make the quick hour trip to the mountain where, with Scotch-guarded rave pants, I would ride my snowboard down the slushy slopes. Soggy cigarettes and beef jerky on the lift along with quick get-to-know-yous with skiing strangers filled my winters. I would find the trees and powder and float my winters away amid a white sea of awesome jumps and kick-ass jibs. Bruised and sore, I would round it all off with a nightcap of whiskey at the neighborhood bar.

A little whiskey never killed anyone (except Frank Sinatra.)

I had this ExGames lifestyle that I was completely content with (...with which I was completely content.) It was the kind of thing that I enjoyed doing and being a part of (...of which I enjoyed being a part). Often we engage in things that we can't fully give ourselves to but this was no such thing. I was neither ashamed nor embarrassed of my action-packed lifestyle. I wore each scar, obtained while practicing said activity, with pride. This is who I was.

Then I got married.

Then I had a kid.