Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town,
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way,
Pink Floyd, 'Time', 1973
Though I had an intensely inner bent I still loved physical activity and being part of a team or group. There were several pursuits that stood out in this area while I was growing up:
I had a few close friends growing up and a larger circle of people I knew and could hang out with, but I was lucky enough to meet my one best friend in kindergarten and stay friends with him through high school and beyond. Having people who seemed to understand you and whom you could be yourself with was one of the best things about growing up.
My other partner in crime throughout my childhood was my bike. I got a silver 3-speed Raleigh during elementary school that I rode everywhere. When I finally let go of it after 10 years I had literally replaced every part of it except the handlebars at least once including the frame. I loved nothing more than the feeling of gliding over the pavement on a warm summer day. If I could get myself somewhere on my own I would rather do that than try to pester my parents for a ride, so I spent a lot of time riding as a kid.
I started swimming at Tavistock Swim Club when I was around 8. Later I joined a winter swimming with a local team from another school, so I was swimming winter and summer for most of my childhood. I found it easy to do well, and with a minimum of practice won far more than I lost. I enjoyed the solitary aspects of swimming that so many others found boring, while I also enjoyed the team aspect of it. It was a good fit for me both physically and psychologically.
I continued swimming through all 4 years of high school, breaking school records along the way, and getting elected captain of the team my senior year. During my freshman year I tried football, but ended up hating it. Being one of the lineman and crashing into someone my own size every couple of minutes seemed like an idiotic thing to do by choice. I was happy to stick with swimming.
My sophomore year in high school one of my English teachers pulled me into a one act play she was directing. This led to the director of the Drama Club encouraging me to go out for the musical that Spring. To my surprise I got a lead role. I enjoyed acting and did well at it, so I continued the cycle of Fall Drama, Winter Swimming, Spring Musical for the rest of my time at HMHS.
Aside from the enjoyment of being in the play, I found the Drama Club an interesting collection of outsiders who didn't seem to fit into any other high school clique. The club also included people I had thought were boring teacher's pets, but turned out to have a rebellious streak after all. Though I didn't identify with all of them I found the whole group refreshing to be around, and I loved being part of a more diverse community. I didn't have a word for who these people at the time, but this was the first time I found myself identifying with the 'Bohemians'.
I had a paper route in junior high, which was OK at the time, but as I got into high school I was becoming bored spending my summers at the pool, plus I wanted to make some money. Just after my freshman year in high school I got a job through my brother picking fruit at an apple and peach orchard a couple of miles from our house. I worked there for the next couple of summers, as well as weekends in the fall during harvest. It turned a combination of retail store work and farm labor, and it allowed me to learn to drive pickup trucks and tractors on the road at 15, learn some rural skills that most suburban kids have no experience with, as well as avoid the minimum wage mall jobs so many of my friends complained about. The money I saved during the summer allowed me to go on ski trips during the winter and have spending money the rest of the year.