As any parent will tell you, free time is hard to come by. Occasionally, my wife and I will reminisce about all of the things we did before having twins. Things like Saturday morning yoga class, or aimlessly perusing the aisle of Home Depot, or just sitting down for a damn minute. But this week the stars aligned and both our kids went off for an overnight field trip in the middle of the week. It also happened to be a beautiful 74 degrees and sunny outside, easily the nicest day of the year so far, so naturally, I decided to table any work for the day (I would be too distraught without my kids to focus on writing words anyway) and set out to explore this whole notion of “free time” I’ve heard so much about.

At first, I thought about converting the kids’ rooms into something more useful. They’d only be gone for 36 hours, but wouldn’t it be great if my son’s room was a home gym and my daughter’s room was a meditation space/zen garden?

Ultimately, I decided that rearranging furniture would be too much like work, so I got on with my day. I rode some laps on the backyard pump track, I played some ping pong in the garage, I threw axes at a target, I wrangled a handful of working dudes to take a long lunch for a road ride, I ate some tacos, then I rode my bike some more…basically, I spent an entire day doing all of the things my 12-year-old self would do if he had the opportunity. The only thing that was missing was chasing crawfish in the creek behind my house and playing ping pong at the Circle K.

Because I’m actually a grown ass man, I finished my free day with a few beers at a brewery overlooking the French Broad. But maybe my favorite beverage of the day was this Blueberry Basil Soda from Waynesville Soda Jerks. I found it mid-ride shortly after my taco break and was blown away by how refreshing it was. I’ve more or less abandoned sodas since becoming an adult (all that sugar! All those calories!), but sipping this thing made me think that maybe my 12-year-old self had it right all along. Maybe life is about riding your bike and playing ping pong and draining sodas behind the Circle K. Okay, life can’t be about that all the time, but every once in a while? Like, take a Thursday every two or three months to do the stuff that you used to do when you were in middle school. Maybe pretending to be a kid every once in a while could be part of a healthy adulthood. Balance and all that shit.

And besides, this particular soda has blueberries and basil in it, so it’s like I’m getting a serving of vegetables and fruit. One bottle is like going to the doctor.

See how responsible I am?