Have you had any fun lately?

“Have you had any fun lately?” That is what my brother Connor had the nerve to ask me when we sat down for lunch together. His question gave me cause for pause. I needed a little time to think about what fun means to me nowadays. Operating a small publishing company amidst the economic conditions of recent years has been, shall we say, pre-occupying. So, I thought about his question.

Surprise, surprise. My favorite recollections from recent months clearly stemmed from the leisure times when my family and I visited our favorite relaxation spots on Cape Cod and The Islands. Relaxation is the operative term here. How do you have any fun unless you are relaxed? Parm Pritchard, who hired me in publishing the year I graduated from college, had a saying that comes to mind. Pritch used to tell the whole staff, “If your work is the last thing you think about at night, and the first thing you think about in the morning, you are doing something wrong.” He is right; in order for me to relax, I need to concentrate on something other than work.

Hopefully we are all lucky enough to know a place or two where we can put our feet up and sincerely appreciate our surroundings. For me, invariably this involves being on or near the water. However, it begins with the very conscious decision to get out of the office, and/or get the office out of my head. We are truly fortunate to be surrounded by such natural beauty. As I wrote in the first issue of Cape Cod Life in 1979, “The Cape & Islands are within one days drive of more than 50 million Americans, and yet it is a world apart.” Each of us needs to know how and when to chime into our “world apart.”

From Buzzards Bay along the Cape Cod Canal to North Truro with its vistas of Provincetown, the views are inspirational, if we let them speak to us. On the Vineyard, from Menemsha Pond to Edgartown’s Katama Bay, on Nantucket from Madaket to Siasconset and Sankaty Head, the wonderful world of water awaits us there.

For me a good day starts with the early morning sun glimmering on the ocean surface, the cliffside coastline silhouetted and fading away in the haze and mist, a cup of coffee in one hand, a pen in the other, and not a serious thought in my empty head. A daytime beach walk is ideal when the only sound I hear is that of surging surf. Literally, all thought process is on hold in order to concentrate on enjoying the crush and rush and tiny rattling rocks…the sounds of eternity. For me, to chime into our “world apart” is to pause on the beach and be able to sincerely appreciate the simple beauty of the natural curve of the shoreline stretching out before me.


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Brian Shortsleeve

Brian Shortsleeve is the President and Publisher of Cape Cod Life Publications.

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