Think Spot

Everyone has a think spot. It may be with a group of people or when you are alone. A coffee shop, a book store, a library, in your car, at the gym, while on a hike, on a run, on a walk, with an animal, in a classroom, or in the lunch room at the office. If not everyone, most people have one. My think spot, is at the Ice Rink.

It used to be in the car or on my bike. I would go out for a long ride, just me and the sound of air rushing by on the trails around Flagstaff or on campus. If it was too cold I would jump in the car and adventure down to Lake Mary or up to Lowell Observatory. Hardly ever did I listen to music when I went out. I put headphones in on the bike to deter people from trying to talk to me or get my attention. In the car I would listen to every sound my car made. Once I got used to the steady rush I could block it out and open my mind.

Since my return to Flagstaff on March 14th, I was at quite a loss for a think spot. I did not have a vehicle with me and it was still slightly chilly here in Flag to hop on the bike. During the day I went from place to place and would use my bike or take the bus but it was not the same. My think time is at night. Or it was at night, until I found a new spot. I wanted to get back into skating. Before I left Flagstaff my roommate got a pair of skates and we decided we were going to go skating once a week. My unintentional absence changed that plan, but I still wanted to skate. I discovered that after just a few hours I was regaining a ton of muscle memory and I did not need to go back to the basics. Thank you mom for the skating lessons!!

I would catch the bus to the ice rink 3 or 4 times a week. I probably clocked 10-12 hours on the ice. I started to feel free. At the conclusion of NAU’s Spring Break and the return of the 20,000 students I discovered I loved being on the ice. I knew when to go to avoid the crowds and I put the ear buds in. It became my think spot. The only unfortunate thing about this think spot was I actually played music. On Tuesday and Thursday I NEEDED it, otherwise I would not be able to think. There is just something about Willie Nelson I cannot handle at ten o’clock in the morning. I made various playlists, mostly music with no lyrics, that all had a similar beat. One I could set my pace to.

I developed nice technique, I could zip around at a steady 25mph, lean into the turns and display a decent cross over. I used it as a work out, not just physical but mental. I would apply 100% focus on the first 1600 meters and slip into a rhythm for the rest. I let my body take over and feel the ice and my brain went down my list of thoughts to think. I used the time to process things I was dreading and all possible outcomes, things that had happened and what that meant for my future, the experiences I had at church or at work, fights and arguments that had replaced any conversation I was hoping to have with friends, and most importantly the question of where my life was headed. I always left the ice rink with a smile on my face. Even if it did not stay there for very long, when I sat down and wrote in my journal about my day, I could always put that I smiled when I left the ice rink. There were definitely times I lost my head, said things that I was later embarrassed about, and freaked out, when really I did not need to. For the most part, the ice helped keep the freak outs and embarrassment to a minimum.

By the end of April, with all of the hours I logged on the ice, I discovered I could go as fast as 30mph and keep that constant for at least 2400 meters. Not too bad! I know I could skate anywhere from 1600 to 6400 meters without having to remind myself to maintain my posture. That gave me a decent amount of time to process a few things before I had to refocus my skating. The change of speed is nice, I am afraid it may get boring after a while, and I do hope that skating in Albuquerque presents new scenery and a change of pace.

If my skates were not at the ice rink being sharpened, bets placed, I would be wearing them as I type this, just for some extra added think points.

Jay Lively Ice Arena

Jay Lively Ice Arena

This think spot is by far the best I found. Riding my bike takes second, and my car will never be one again. Maybe I will get into running. If I did not have a think spot, I would be more of a basket case and annoyance to the people around me. We’ll see where things go after Flagstaff. I know my think spot in Alaska is the boat ride to and from Frank’s Creek and Cabin Creek. Or in a kayak drifting in the middle of the cove. In Albuquerque? I hope I can skate there as much as I was able to skate here. It would be nice to get faster and maybe finance a set of new skates. (fingers crossed)

What is your think spot? Even if you are labeled the “extrovert,” where do you find your solitude?

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