About a week ago, I celebrated the Equinox. I use the term “celebrated” loosely, as I did little more than make a nice dinner. Those who know me know I’m a sucker for the Solstices. My friend Nicole calls me the Solstice Queen: one of my favorite nicknames.
I’m also a fan of the spring Equinox, but ever since I can remember I’ve been kinda anti-Fall. I find ways to enjoy it, like I love the word Autumn, so I try and call it that. Happy Autumn! But that’s as much excitement as this gal can muster.
This is a problem, because I start craving the winter Solstice right around Autumn. I’m wishing away an entire quarter of a year every year. This just won’t do.
I’m starting to think that I don’t like things to end slowly. I hated the last few months before high school graduation: Could it just get here already? I about lost it the month before I moved to California, as my apartment was slowly emptying itself. All I wanted to do was jump on that plane.
My problem? I can’t stand the calm before the storm. Letting something happen organically isn’t my strong suit. I want to push it to happen, which is probably why patience has never been my virtue. I don’t think I’m alone here. Many of us are pushing, pulling and otherwise trying to control our situations, as if we know best.
The solution has been staring me in the face for the past few months every morning: Be present. Be mindful. Live in the moment.
Life is a gift. Be present for it.
This is a more elusive beast than balance, which eluded me for years. I’ve still just barely got that dragon by the tail. Mindfulness? That’s my unicorn.
I’ve found the only way to fully live in the present is to be kind: kind to myself, kind to others, kind when speaking, kind when listening. As soon as judgment toward myself or others enters the ring, mindfulness exits quietly, letting the former get on its soapbox with all sorts of fanfare.
This is a newer quest for me, but a noble one nonetheless. I’m hoping to enjoy every moment of this beautiful season. Do you have any suggestions? How do you stay present? What tricks help you live in the moment?
Reading deprivation is over. You’d think after a week, I’d have dove right back into reading and my media. But even my Rolling Stone has gone largely untouched after a few days back in the reading world.
Yes, I’ve Tweeted a bit and read a few blogs, but my email program is about the same as it was before and I’m really not feeling Facebook at all. And I went to bed last night with a desire to write, not read.
Why haven’t things gone back to “normal?” I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think these five lessons kinda sum it up for me:
1. The world is full of beautiful things just waiting to be appreciated first hand. I kind of already knew this, but sometimes I would let others experience it for me and then I’d just read about it. Take the Harvest Moon, for example. I love the moon, and regardless of whether I was doing this exercise, I probably would’ve went outside to take a peak at it. Then I would’ve read about it and looked at other people’s pictures of it the next day.
(Courtesy of Vince Wingate via flickr)
Instead, I went outside to a great big field and sat there and stared at it, right around dusk. I sat there for probably 15 minutes, chatting with the moon, my intuition and the flowers, grasses and little bugs that came by to say hi.
It was special. And it only took a few minutes. There’s so much I hear from others that I want to see more of first-hand. Dolphins are at the top of the list. And it’s all out there waiting for me.
2. I have a lot more energy than I thought. After a morning of jittery weirdness, I decided to skip the coffee. And I was fine. More than fine. My energy levels were off the chart throughout this whole exercise.
I would go to bed with words rattling around in my head, even though I had written more in a day than I used to in a week. Where were all the words coming from? Where was all this energy coming from?
I liken it to a computer without enough RAM. When we have so many things we’re trying to pay attention to in a day (Facebook, email, Twitter, blogs, family, grocery lists, work, news, etc.) our brains and our bodies have to slow down, much like a computer does when it’s faced with too many tasks to do at once.
(Courtesy of leonwpp via flickr)
When that happens, you can either buy more RAM or you can slow down and do less at once. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to buy RAM for my brain. Installing more in my computer is stressful enough. So I choose to slow down and use my RAM for what’s most important to me. And I’ll take the extra energy as a benefit.
3. Choose the images and thoughts you expose yourself to carefully. At the end of my week, I was really excited to watch The Daily Show, which if youwatched my vlog, you know why. But after watching it and laughing a bit, I realized how sad it was that thousands of people were losing their jobs and that this was somehow a joke.
I’ve noticed the same thing about the music I listen to and the blogs I read. Either I’ve become more sensitive to that stuff in a week, or I was just desensitized to it. I’m going with the latter and limiting my intake. Just like certain foods can fill your body with toxins, so can certain media.
4. I’m a lot more creative than I thought. Once I stopped reading other people’s creations, I started to crave creation. Even when I was in the cleaning closet anger phase, I would stumble across something beautiful and use it to decorate the house. After awhile, I started thinking about all the projects I’d like to sew.
(Courtesy of pinprick via flickr)
Sew? I’m a writer, not a seamstress. Or so I thought. Turns out there are a lot of creative things I’d like to do, and with my mind quiet, they finally came to the surface.
5. Nike has it right: Just do it. Seriously. There is no reason to research, talk about, or think about that project you want to do any more. If your heart desires to write a novel, Nanowrimo is just around the corner. If you want to learn to crochet, take a class. I’m looking for a sewing machine. Who would have thought?
Quit thinking about it and just do it. It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to not know what you’re doing right away. Experts aren’t born, they’re created.
Ignorance is bliss and I believe it. I can’t go back to how things were because of the lessons I learned from this exercise, which actually gets me pretty excited. What inner-creations are going to come to fruition from this? What long lost dreams will come to light?
What about you? Can you relate? Have you had any experiences with media (or other things) where your perspective shifted so dramatically your life underwent a permanent change? How did you handle it?
The first time I heard his name, I knew something was going to happen between us.
I had been in my new home of Watsonville for about four hours and was enjoying my first chavella with my new house mate Bryan. A chavella is a Mexican drink made from beer, clam juice, wine and tomato juice garnished with shrimp. Yes, they are amazing and one of my favorite first memories of home.
He looks down at his phone and laughs. “It’s already started,” he says.
“What’s stared?” I ask.
“The questions. My friend Sante just sent me a text: ‘Quit holding out on us. Is she cute?’ ”
I laugh. Not that this guy wondered that. I get it. I’m new and that’s interesting. What I’m laughing at is that I just took the “red-eye” Greyhound bus up from L.A. I’m feeling pretty gritty. I need a few more showers and nights of sleep before I could pass as cute, as far as I’m concerned. But still, Bryan snaps a photo and sends it to his friend.
This is me before leaving L.A. Add eight hours of Greyhound bus and well, luckily, Sante never got the text.
Since this was in my man-eating phase, I’m pretty sure that the something that would happen between us would be that we’d go on a few dates, I’d keep my walls up while he fell for me and then I would stomp all over his heart. It was pretty much my M.O. at the time, and though I’m not proud of it, I broke quite a few guys’ hearts.
I met Sante a few days later when Bryan invited me to lunch with a few of his coworkers. They were going to Phil’s in Moss Landing, which is this fish joint that’s basically an overpriced tourist trap, but everybody’s been there. And Bryan figured I should probably check it off my list.
We arrived and ordered at the counter. I got fish and chips. Some of the other guys order lobster and appetizers. I sit down and am formally introduced to Sante for the first time. He’s sitting across the table from me. Not directly across from me, thank goodness.
I’m having a hard time looking at him, which is weird for me, because I have what some people call a staring problem. And generally when I find someone attractive (which I definitely felt with him), I have a habit of boring a hole into them, kind of fixating on them.
It’s kind of creepy actually. And it’s not just men but women and animals too. If I think you’re attractive, I just enjoy looking at you. I catch myself and have to remind myself that when I’m on the opposite end of this exchange, I get very annoyed.
I even had trouble looking with photos. This helped me NOT Facebook stalk him...too much.
At any rate, I’m having a hard time looking at this terribly attractive man, so I distract myself with the conversation at hand, which, as it always does with these guys, is completely inappropriate and I’m laughing out loud on several occasions. After an hour of boisterous exchange, we all pile into cars and head back to Watsonville.
There’s something that happens to you when you move to a new place (at least for me) in that you kind of forget that you’re going to see people again. At first you just feel like you’re on perpetual vacation and that you’ll be getting on a plane any moment and won’t ever see someone again.
I felt that way about Sante after that day. Well, it was nice to meet him, but I guess things weren’t supposed to happen between us. Like that one exchange was the only chance I had to get his phone number and get to know him.
So imagine my surprise when a few weeks later we meet again at the dirt track races. It was dirty, loud, we’d smuggled some whiskey into the stands and things were promising to be loads of fun. There were about twelve of us, most everyone from Bryan’s workplace.
Sante came to the track on his motorcycle, which to me was a HUGE deal because aside from moving across the continent, I had one goal that summer: Get on a motorcycle.
Now this goal was looking like it wasn’t going to happen, mostly because I didn’t know anyone with a motorcycle in California. So when I saw Sante with the bike, my first thought was about meeting my goal, which if you know anything about me, is kind of a driving factor. I love goals.
Never mind the fact that he’s in this motorcycle jacket looking all sexy. Never mind that for whatever reason, I’m a bit tongue-tied around him. And never mind that I could barely look at him. All of that left my head with the sight of knocking that off my list.
“Ooooo could you take me on a ride?” I asked.
“Yeah, we could probably do that,” he replied.
I put his phone number into my phone and ask how to spell his name. And then I ask his last name. It’s a habit from having multiple people in my phone with the same name. It’s frustrating. Plus, I like to know people’s last names.
This exchange takes place in front of everyone and somebody gives me a hard time about asking about a last name.
“What? You think you’re going to meet another Sante?”
Looking back on this, I smile at those words. Another Sante? Impossible. This guy is one in a gazillion.
Before we go on the motorcycle ride, Sante and I meet at the beach with a few friends. We’re chatting and he says everything I’m about to say. I’m not kidding.
I’m about to bring up Curb Your Enthusiasm and he brings it up. Are you serious? It’s maddening! I’m desperately trying to not be one of those “Oh, me too” girls, but he’s making it next to impossible because we have so much in common.
He drives me home and lets me smoke in his car. For some reason this is a big deal for me. He doesn’t smoke. Smoking is not at all OK, but he’s just so nonjudgmental about it. This I like, of course.
I bring up the motorcycle ride again and he’s a little vague about it. I implore him, letting him know how important it is to me, especially because it is one of my goals. He smiles and says he won’t bail on me because it would be so mean.
“It’d be like saying to a puppy: ‘You wanna go for a ride?’ and then walking away.”
That’s right folks. One of us supposed to be a dog in this situation. I am. I am the dog.
But it’s hard to be offended when the analogy is just so good. It’s the writer in me.
It took a few more weeks, but we did finally go on that ride. And then we hung out after the races one night. We kissed that night, but I didn’t want to get involved with my housemate’s friend, which he didn’t quite understand.
“Who do you date then?” he asked me later, when I explained it more. And I had no answer. Or rather, I didn’t want to tell him my answer.
I had spent all my time dating guys that didn’t match me. And didn’t match my criteria for a man. A while before I met Sante, I wrote a list of all the characteristics I’d like my man to have.
At that point, I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend, but after swarms of alcoholic, drug addict and suspected murderer types, it seemed like a good idea to have something to strive for as opposed to settle for. Gotta have goals, right? Plus I met a really great guy while in the middle of my heart-breaking and a little light went on. Even though he wasn’t the right one, he had the recipe. Smart. Driven. He made me want to be better, and I liked that.
Sante matched my recipe. Smart. Ambitious. Funny. Good looking. Likes mushrooms and onions. Wants to be healthy. Cares about the environment. Cares about politics without being a zealot. Loves to be outside. Likes me for me. Active. Likes to travel. Doesn’t want kids. Open minded. Kind.
There’s more on the list, but really, I got pretty specific. And he matched. And that was a little scary at first, I guess, because I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend. But really, did I think I was going to find another Sante?
I remember the night I realized it. Sante and I had had one of our first actual dates. But he was more leery of us as a couple than I was. I mean, c’mon, I was a self-proclaimed man-eater and a bit wild. I don’t blame him.
I was out with some friends and Sante was out of town. There was this dude chatting with me who was hitting on me pretty hard. He was cute and kinda interesting, so I was having fun with it, flirting.
But after awhile, I caught myself thinking This isn’t going to go anywhere. Why would I date this guy if it might mess things up with Sante. He’s so not worth it.
Plus this dude spoke with a French accent, which meant I couldn’t take him seriously at all. All I could think of was the French chef from The Little Mermaid.
Man eater tamed.
After dating for a few months it became clear that he had things I didn’t even think to put on the list. That is the best part.
I love that he loves the moon as much as me. I adore that he will cheer with me for the chipmunks crossing the street. He takes me camping in the mountains all the time. He loves to kiss me (His coworkers asked if we had a quota to fill each day when they saw us say good bye one morning). He has a motorcycle. We like the same kind of beer. He doesn’t eat dairy: I’m allergic and he’s intolerant. Match made in heaven?
It was two years ago we started dating and thirty years ago Sante was born. I’m so happy for his existence. It’s one of my favorite birthdays to celebrate. Sante makes me want to be a better human being, which is one of the most important qualities you can have in a friend or mate.
I love it when I tell the future. There has been more than once that my Tarot readings have helped out someone with my foretelling. (Is that a word? It is now.) Like when I told a guy he needed to apologize to his ex and then his life would rule. That guy ended up being my husband. Bonus!
In my last blog post I said that reading deprivation might drive me to chewing out the mailman and that it would result in my first vlog. Well, I didn’t run into any postal workers today but I did get the mail today, and there’s this:
Say what you want about this whole reading deprivation thing. It’s actually spurned a level of creation I haven’t seen since, well, ever. I have been thinking about vlogging for-EVER and just haven’t gotten around to it, mostly because I want to make it perfect.
So even though I did cheat just a little — I messaged everyone for my hubby’s birthday party on Facebook. (I did NOT click on my alerts or friend request. *high five*)
Oh, and my friend emailed me about an idea he had and I opened it. How could I not? It’s not my fault he writes compelling subject lines! But beyond that, my week has been cheat-free and I think I’m gonna make it.
Although I buried that Rolling Stone deep in my stack of magazines to avoid temptation.
Are you surprised I’m writing again after such a short reprieve? You shouldn’t be, considering my assignment this week in The Artist’s Way.
Yesterday was shear terror, mind you, at the idea of not reading for a week, partly because I couldn’t research it on Google in order to get some newer guidelines.
The book was written in 1992, so the interwebs was just a baby in the public eye. But just because it’s celebrating its 20th year around, doesn’t mean it’s old. I mean, c’mon, there were lots of great things happening in the early ’90s.
But what she does say is this:
Reading deprivation casts us into our inner silence, a space some of us being to immediately fill with new words — long, gossipy conversations, television bingeing, the radio as a constant, chatty companion. We often cannot hear our own inner voice, the voice of our artist’s inspiration, above the static. In practicing reading deprivation, we need to cast a watchful eye on these other pollutants. They poison the well.
So, since I’m swimming on my own in this big ocean (how did information nerds live before the Internet?), I’ve decided to come up with my own rules for not reading:
No reading email, although I will check it during the week, open and respond to any of my clients needs. I consider an email to be the modern equivalent to a phone call, and ignoring a business phone call for a week is just bad form. However, any of my newsletters, alerts and friendly correspondence will have to wait. No opening. No reading. It’s gonna take some discipline, but I think I can hang.
No reading blogs. No researching. No meandering through the Googlesphere. *pout*
No social media, unless it’s for a client. I will not click on my alerts. I will not read status updates an tweets. I will not pass go. Social media is a necessary part of my income, and I’m pretty sure my clients and husband would rather I not take a week off from my work. (I originally thought it was OK to post updates via social media, but the whole point is interaction, so really, why post something if you can’t respond or interact. It’s TORTURE.)
No music via headphones. For me, this is the quickest way to tune out the world and my inner voice.
TV is only allowed in small doses, which means less than 30 minutes.
So there you have it folks. A simple guide I will adhere to for a week. Wish me luck as I head out into the world completely naked. I’m serious! I rode the bus today without book or iPod or phone and, to break it down to its bare bones, I felt really vulnerable. Is that weird?
Like I said in my last post, I love libraries. So it should pretty much go without saying that I’m a giant bookworm. I read on the bus, while I’m eating and even on the toilet. (What?!? I have a subscription to Rolling Stone. If you don’t read that every time you go to the bathroom, you fall seriously behind. Those magazines just keep coming.)
Yeah, the lake is nice and all, but this book is *riveting.*
So imagine my shock, nay, my horror when I came upon the fourth chapter of The Artist’s Way, which mandates reading deprivation. For a week.
Of course, the first thing I do is go online and Google how other people dealt with it when I realized, Crap. I can’t read this.
Naturally I went to Facebook to post an update on how humorous/devastating this was, when it dawned on me that I couldn’t read any one else’s status updates. The same realization came with Twitter. And my friend Tori pointed out that the book was written before the information age, so of course it applies to blogs.
I’m still deciding whether this applies to TV. This, ladies and gentlemen, is bargaining, especially considering how I feel about television.
But. BUT! I can blog. Thank Jesus.
After the initial shock and denial wore off (I actually tried to tell myself I didn’t really read that much, so it wouldn’t be a big deal.), I find myself really kind of angry. There’s a line in the chapter that says after awhile you’ll run out of work and have to play (thus, creating art).
I feel the need to prove her wrong. No! I have plenty of work. The closets need organizing, the garden needs harvesting, we even have a BBQ this weekend, so I have to get ready for that. I’m tempted to create the world’s most giant to-do list to keep me busy all week. Too bad I burned my to-do list in Week 2. Arg!
I don't regret it. Burning that list was liberating.
I’m a bit surprised at this. Why am I trying so hard to prove this woman I don’t know and have never met, wrong? And why wouldn’t I want to play, anyway?
The thing is, she’s right. I bury myself in books because I tell myself it’s productive and also an important part of being a writer. But I know the dark secret. It’s the easiest way to get out of being creative myself. I’m consuming, not creating.
God the truth hurts.
So at this point, I’ve harvested the garden, organized one of the three closets in our home and gotten the yard all cleaned up for the BBQ. It’s been about six hours since I got my week-long assignment.
But who's counting?
I’m slowly sinking into the depression stage of grief here. (Thank the Universe I didn’t go to the library to get the latest in the Percy Jackson series I’m reading.) There’s a blog I read every morning that really encourages me. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is my night-time companion. And you already know what I read while I’m brushing my teeth.
Will I get through this? Oh yes. I can’t resist a good challenge. But I feel like throwing a toddler temper tantrum right now. Maybe by my next blog, I’ll have reached the acceptance stage. Or maybe it’ll be my first vlog, in which I throw my books at the webcam and scream at the mailman for delivering the latest edition of Rolling Stone.
Have you ever done a media fast? Any advice for me? I’m desperate here!
Somewhere inside of me is a librarian, dying to get out. I love libraries: I patronize my local one at least a few times a month, have made donations to the small one in my favorite little town, and visit them whenever I’m on vacation.
There’s a statistic I’ve heard often that says something like people have an average of seven careers in a lifetime, but after checking that out via the interwebs, it appears it’s more of an urban legend than anything.
The reason I bring this up isn’t because I’ve already had a few careers in my short lifetime (I think waitress to journalist to marketer to writer is a pretty reasonable transition), but because I have so many careers I would like to have, like as a librarian (which incidentally, is the reason I went to journalism school in the first place).
This never really dawned on me until I started my journey through The Artist’s Way, which has led me into some interesting places. One of the exercises I’m doing is creating a running list of all the different lives I’d like to have. Although it doesn’t explicitly say it, I guess I read this as different careers.
So far, this is what I’ve come up with.
Librarian. See above. Did you know this requires a master’s degree? Yeah, hence the bachelor’s in journalism.
Medicine woman. After discovering the wonders of St. John’s Wort, I’m thoroughly convinced that humanity’s problems could be solved with the proper relationship with plants.
Model. My Twitter pic. My Facebook profile pic. All the photos of me on my blog. It’s only fair to admit that I love being photographed, and I think many of those photos are pretty damn good. Of course, one must give credit to the photographersas well.
Some of the best pictures of me were taken by my dear friend Johanna (right).
Singer. I love to sing. Crank it up in the car or while I’m working out. I’m so about it. And I’ll belt it out at a karaoke bar. I’d love to be the front woman of a band, even for just one night.
Dancer. How can you sing without dancing? Whether I’m good at this or not is up open for interpretation. But an hip-hop dance class just may be in my future.
Radio D.J. At first I thought I could be a radio journalist, but that just doesn’t seem like any fun, which is what being a radio D.J. (in my mind) is all about. I’m sure it can be a pain to get up at 4 a.m. if you’re on the morning shift, but hey! You’re working with music!
Gardener. Technically I’m already a gardener, but I’m thinking more like a farmer maybe. The kind that eats only what she grows, you know? And now that I live on the central coast, it’s definitely in my future. Just need more land!
Newspaper columnist. I realize that this is kind of in my field and I do write a blog, but it would be cool to write a column for an alternative newspaper. I even wrote to Rob Breszny (who got his start at Good Times in Santa Cruz) about how to get started. More on this later.
Storm chaser. When I was 21, I stood in a field as a funnel cloud formed in front of me. The screams of my friends brought me out of my trance and into the basement like a rational human. Still, I’ve never been accused of being all that rational and Mother Nature and I are tight, so yes: storm chaser.
First amendment lawyer. One of the reasons democracy exists is because of this amendment. That’s why it’s the first. I’m a fierce believer in it (even when it protects those I disagree with). I’d love to help defend it.
Therapist. Going through change is tough, but totally worth it. Helping other people go through it would be rad.
Guidance counselor. I’m an Aries, so a fresh start is always very appealing to me (which is why I have to work so hard to follow through). Talking to kids about their fresh start, inspiring them to follow their dreams, would just be so exciting.
Community college writing teacher. I’m a firm believer that anyone can be a good writer with the right editor and teacher.
Grocery store clerk. I think it would be fascinating to see what people buy everyday. It’s the voyeur in me. It’s like a little peak into their life.
I guess not all of these are “lives” per se. Being a front woman for a band might involve changing my entire life, but I could always take a class here and there to get my teaching license. And I’m pretty sure you can book a tour to storm chase.
I think the idea of this exercise is to try new things and see that anything is possible, right? I’ve already got a photo shoot set up with Sante, the sexy man who took the photo on my about page. That makes me a model, right?
Life is all about possibilities, and when you’re open to them all, that’s when dreams come true. What about you? What other jobs/lives do you want to have? What can you do to make them a reality?
So it’s Labor Day Weekend. Back where I come from that means the last days of summer. School will start and along with it, the trees change outfits. (Winter in disguise never looked so beautiful.)
Although things have changed — summer lasts through September and into October here, school starts in August and leaves don’t change in the fall — I still have a very Minnesotan way of celebrating Labor Day: take off Thursday, go camping and sit next to the water doing nothing until Monday.
This weekend marks our second annual Labor Day camping trip to Downieville: paradise on earth. (Trust me when I say this. I live in Santa Cruz.) No cell phone service. No Internet connections. Nothing but bliss.
Yeah. It's like that.
Although I grew up in the middle of nowhere amongst beautiful forests and lakes, I didn’t really get into camping until I moved into the city. (The grass is sometimes greener.) I would beg the people who liked to camp to take me with them, but it wasn’t until I moved to California that I was brought camping proper.
It’s only been about about 1.5 years since my first real camping trip, but I feel like I’ve learned a few basics every camper should know, whether it’s their first time or their fiftieth. (Refresher courses are good.)
1. Winter camping is cold.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise for the Minnesotan in me, but somehow I thought the romance of the words “winter camping” would keep me warm. Of course, being that I came from the north, my first real camping experience was winter camping and I thought it would be a walk in the park. (I mean c’mon! These Californian’s with their “rain” and their “winters.” P’shaw!)
Thankfully, it was with a man that I couldn’t (and still can’t) stop falling in love with.
Not a bad January First, eh?
But for all the romantic moments, ocean discoveries and great views, I was happier inside the truck than out. I know. I’m supposed to be tough, but I’m not. I like sunny warm days where the most I’ll need to stay warm is a hoodie. I’ve adapted quickly — I was born to live in California.
So unless you’re camping in someone’s backyard and have somewhere warm to hang out, I recommend skipping the camping in December. Unless, you’re really hard core … or from north of Winnipeg.
2. All food tastes better when eating outside.
Perhaps it’s the fact that you have to build a fire to cook your food. Or that you don’t have all the conveniences of home. (Why do I always forget a good knife and cutting board?) There is something about the taste of that oatmeal, that sandwich, that burger that just can not be replicated when you’re at home.
Or it could just be the view while you're eating.
So don’t sweat it when it comes to planning what you’re gonna eat when you get there. You can forage in the woods, grab a sandwich from the nearest store or just rummage through the cooler. It’s all gonna taste frickin’ dee-lish-us.
3. There is no sleeping in.
It doesn’t matter if you were up partying until 3 a.m. The birds don’t care if you didn’t get to your site until 1 a.m. and you had to set your tent up in the dark. You are going to wake up when the rest of nature does.
And that’s around 7 a.m., give or take.
You can try to avoid it, to ignore it. But the sun will rise and then your tent will be hotter than a New York subway in August. Brutal.
So just suck it up and get up when the birds do. The day will treat you well, the fresh air will take care of your fatigue and the lack of sleep will assure that you make it into your sleeping bag at a more decent hour the next night, thus preparing for the next day.
4. Peeing in the woods is awesome.
This one is more directed toward women, as most men I know are well aware of the radness that is marking your territory. Since I was a kid, really, I was fascinated with the fact that one could, in fact, pee somewhere other than a toilet.
But as I got older, women I knew were always looking for a bathroom, and so I thought perhaps I should be too.
Uhhh ... no thanks. I'll stay outside.
While a toilet is nice when there’s other business to be taken care of, outdoor toilets are rarely pleasant. I’d much rather pee outside where it’s pretty, not at all claustrophobic and smells much more fresh. Plus the sun and wind on your exposed parts feels nice. And yeah, I kinda like making my mark in the woods.
5. No one locks their tent.
Even as an optimist who believes that all people are inherently good, this still amazes me. I’m aware that it isn’t really practical to lock one’s tent, but still! People leave all their gear out while they go frolic for the day. And I’ve never heard of anyone coming back to find their food, beer or expensive camping gear taken.
It”s a testament to the fact that people are, in fact, wonderful and respectful creatures. And it makes me eeeee! with delight.
What has camping taught you? What am I missing in the youth of my camping life? Let me know in the comments. I’ve still got a few months left of camping this year, so I’m all ears!
Happy Labor Day to all of you in the States, and happy first weekend of September to the rest of you! May it be a wonderful time filled with fun, blessings and pie. Mmm … apple pie. Cheers!