You should unplug, reflect and enjoy a fall drive today

Cleveland is home to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 33,000 acres full of natural splendor. It's also my personal escape for an afternoon every November.

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If you've followed my work across the internet closely, whether it's in written or verbal form, you'd come to learn that I don't share many details about my personal or private life unless I think it's necessary. It's nothing personal, I promise. It's just that due to having a public platform I try to protect those who matter most to me. It also takes a lot for me to open up to others. But, the last time I did it was when I was feeling under the weather, non-COVID-related, thankfully and it was about why the Cleveland Cavaliers meant so much to me.

Today is another one of those days.

During the height of the pandemic, a close friend and rival podcast host introduced me to Adult Swim's Joe Pera Talks With You. The show's star and the titular character is Joe Pera, who plays a fictionalized version of himself, living in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and teaching choir at a local middle school. Pera attempts to talk directly to the audience about mundane subjects such as iron, Sunday breakfast, grocery shopping, The Who's Baba O'Riley and even trying to fall back asleep. At first, this seems like a surreal and bizarre concept and for the most part, it is.

But, the true beauty behind it all is how Pera finds pure joy and appreciation for all the little things in life. He carefully shows you that if you slow down and observe the world around you, things are truly incredible.

This is almost perfectly crystallized in the show's third episode Joe Pera Takes You on a Fall Drive.

In the episode, Pera takes viewers on his annual fall drive, something he does on the first Saturday following Halloween. During the episode, he muses on fall and gives his jack-o-lantern a proper funeral, which he believes has 1/16 of his soul. Again, it seems like such a silly concept but throughout the episode, Pera contemplates the idea of humanity being able to give life and also able to take it away through the eyes of his jack-o-lantern.

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Sure, it's just a traditional seasonal activity done by many during the month of October. But, the way Pera agonized over the idea of giving his jack-o-lantern life, and eventually, death, resonated with me. Again, this show overall had taught me to slow down and not go through the motions of life so often. But, for whatever reason, this episode, in particular, taught me to also reflect on each and every year I'm alive as well.

So, after that, I decided that each and every first Saturday after Halloween, I'd fill up my car and also take a fall drive. Mine never will have as somber of an objective as Joe's, I stopped carving pumpkins years ago. But, I do take time to reflect on the prior year. Who I've met, who I've lost, what I personally have accomplished, what I will strive for the following year and the quiet comprehending of the meaning of it all.

During last year's fall drive, I wasn't exactly the happiest professionally. By the time things ended and I warmed my chilly bones by the fire, I decided I was going to do whatever it takes to make sure my happiness would no longer be put to the wayside.

Whether or not it was the autumnal spirit of my trip, but I soon after found out I could apply to what would eventually become Facebook Bulletin and, in turn, Right Down Euclid. I've been available publicly for the better part of 2 months now but the amount of support and recognition I've gotten from everyone this embarking on the endeavor means the world. It's humbling, sure. But, I can also say that without a doubt this is the happiest I've been in my life in the longest time. I get to cover the teams, along with the city, I adore and share its story with anyone and everyone possible.

So, I encourage anyone reading this to consider unplugging today and going on a fall drive of their own. There is something truly therapeutic to it and thankfully, between Cleveland and Akron is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park – which boasts nearly 33,000 acres of natural splendor. It's where I'll be driving today and while I won't be checking my phone I hope in my heart you take me up on this offer. Part of it is because I'll be a bit busy taking in and appreciating the magnificence of the world around us and how the national government made the right call preserving this section of land. The other reason is I'll be reflecting on this past year and again what I'll be doing to make next year even better.

The best way to truly do that is to completely unplug and keep your distractions away. Sure, you can listen to music and in fact, I encourage you to – driving in total silence is pretty dull. But, I do hope you find something to take away from this if you do try it. I'll be back tomorrow with my final thoughts and takeaways from week 3 of Cavaliers basketball but, until then, I'll see you next time.

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