When I was 23 I moved to California, working a job as a science teacher at a summer camp.
The only time I went indoors was to sleep, and sometimes even that didn’t happen. With bottles of wine and a sleeping bag we’d hike into the mountains of our backyard, pop open the bottle, stargaze, and when tired enough, throw down the sleeping bag next to the fire and sleep.
I worked, ate all of my meals, and played outside. On days off we’d walk the mile or so into town, carrying books and sitting outside at the local coffee shop, reading. Or we’d drive to the beach, stopping at the local fruit and veggie stands to buy our lunch, and then spend the day relaxing on the beach and playing flag football as the sun dipped below the horizon.
In the nine months I lived there I watched television once, when the bomb exploded at the summer Olympics. Even then it was to catch the updates on the evening news, maybe 10 minutes or so. Watching it felt funny after all of that time away and I realized I’d rather be outdoors than sitting in front of a screen.
I moved to California in June and that summer I learned a lot about myself, although I didn’t take notes. I remember writing a friend of mine about not really knowing what day of the week it was, let alone the date and being happier than I had ever been in my entire life.
And now at 43, I’m taking those notes, mentally recording what I know about how I operate, when my soul is happiest, and what I need on a daily basis.
And it’s this:
To. Be. Outside.
So simple, eh?
My goal this summer is to be outside, everyday. I’ve made our porch another room in our home – table, chairs, umbrella, hammock, grill, toys, and a garden – and my intention is for us to eat all meals out there, to play out there, to live out there.
I am at my best, my soul is at peace, and life is at its peak when we are outdoors, beyond the reaches of technology and surrounded by nature.