My parents took me camping as a child. I did not enjoy it. In fact I hated it so much that I refused to camp as an adult for many years. It might have been because I just wasn’t ready for it but I think it was probably because my parents don’t do camping very well.
When I was out of the country in 2016 I worked with a guy that loved camping. I got interested in it and decided to give it another try as an adult when I got back.
It turns out that camping is enjoyable when you don’t go with my parents. The last time I went camping was a few weeks ago with the wife. I was sitting in front of the fire listening to the sounds of the night creatures and looking at the stars that aren’t visible from the city. When I’m camping, my mind has less noise. I’m able to think about things when my mind is quiet. The things I think about when my mind is quiet aren’t the things I think about in the city.
In the city, I worry about everything that doesn’t matter and everything I can’t control. In the city, I think about how I’m going to afford car repairs that I don’t even need because my car runs fine. I second guess financial decisions. I make lists in my head of problems that don’t require my attention right now.
When I’m camping, I think about the things that are happening now. I don’t carry the weight of the imaginary problems.
I wanted to write about this but never got around it while I was camping.
We’ve been home for a while and the tent still needs to be swept out. I set it up in the back yard yesterday before I went to work. Running late as I was, I decided to sweep it after work. I get off work at 11 p.m. and usually make it home before midnight. With the family in bed, it seemed like a good opportunity to go sit in the tent and write about the peacefulness of camping.
While laying in front of the glow of the laptop screen, I suddenly felt very much at peace and somewhat tired. I closed the laptop and put my head down to rest my eyes for a few minutes. I woke up at 6 a.m. and came inside to go to bed. I was annoyed with myself for being unproductive but later on today I realized that the event was a perfect example of why I enjoy camping.
Sometimes I move through my day running on the stress of problems. In that condition I could go to sleep at a moment’s notice if I could ever relax. That’s why we sometimes fall asleep when we meditate. It doesn’t mean that we failed at meditating. It means that we’ve been tired for a while and we’re just now letting go of enough to relax.
We live in the city because we want our lives to be better. I’m starting to wonder if we took a wrong turn somewhere.