According to doomsday guru David Meade, the world was set to end last Saturday.

It was all over the news, social media, you name it. So, when I woke up on Sunday morning to a bright shining sun that promised a hot day ahead, I figured I wasn’t given this gift of a second chance (cough) so that I could stay home, do laundry and clean toilets.

No way. Not happening.

Summer had returned in fall and that could only mean one thing: a road trip to the shores of Georgian Bay.

Convincing my teens of a car ride that ended in a beach was about the easiest thing ever. The Carpenter was working, which meant we had room in the car for the kids to take a friend. Me and three teenagers. It’s a good thing you are only as old as you feel, which makes me 18.

The drive to Collingwood was great. We played good music too loud and laughed louder. I got an education on a generation that is growing up on social media platforms, literally. YouTube is life. Who knew? While everyone had a phone, as the kilometres tagged on, they looked at them less. But when we saw the horizon of Georgian Bay before us, we all unplugged. It was play time.

Nature always wins.

We left our baggage on the shore and slid our feet along the slippery rocks out to the water’s depths where we behaved like fools, with water fights, screaming laughter and a whole lot of swimming. Out there in the waves, we forgot all the things that September brings: changes in routine, expectations and the energy it takes just to face every day with an optimism that the world seems intent on squashing before lunch time.

Everything is better by the lake. Have you ever noticed that? Your happiest days roll on the waves, with the sun high in the sky. On your darkest days, the waves remind you that everything changes, and your troubles will pass.

When your ego gets too big, the lake reminds you how small you are in the grand scheme of things. And when you feel too small, the lake reflects back the infinite gifts of possibility bestowed upon you, simply by existing.

Maybe you don’t see that. Maybe you just see a lot of water. But if you pick up a rock and skip it across the top of the water, I believe there is hope for you. There is hope for these three kids.

On shore, we plugged back in, where mutual consent was confirmed before any photos were shared on social media, because that is their reality now.

Nobody wants a post that will embarrass them with their peers. Vanity? No. It’s reality. Sometimes I forget the courage it takes for my kids to walk in the doors of a high school every day and find a way to fit in without losing who they are. It’s a necessary passage. We all went through it.

But it’s a different game now, one I am glad I didn’t have to play at 16. The drive home was quiet. Windows down. Less chatter.  Swirling minds and water-logged tiredness. Gratitude smells like the lake.

I reflected on what I learned that day: don’t ask your kids to unplug –  give them a reason to.

Make time, because no matter the game, nature always wins.



Kelly Waterhouse