Sunday, August 12, 2012

Going to camp

Thinking (again) about the modern parable.  This is now the third related post.  If you're confused or want to refresh your memory, you could start by reading "Early Retirement" and "Princess Diana."

Several years ago, I had a paradigm shift.  I had several of them pretty much back-to-back, which you may have gathered!  I had just moved back to the northeast and I took a fresh look at an old New England summer tradition: going to camp.  

Now, this may be unique to New England but, 'going to camp' means a trip to a cottage.  Often, 'camp' is by a lake, river, the ocean, or just out in the woods.  It's a little glimpse of a simpler life.  You don't necessarily worry about the color or style of the counter tops.  You are simply there to enjoy life, whatever it happens to bring.  You don't worry about having stainless steel appliances.  In fact, some of the allure may be the 50 year old Frigidaire still whirring away in the kitchen!  When we first moved back, I had 'camp' on my list of things to achieve.

What changed?

I was listening to a co-worker talk about the limited time her family had been able to spend 'up to camp' that summer.  It was a 150 mile trek that they took every Friday night through the 13 or so weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  I remember thinking about the amount of time spent driving versus relaxing.  It seemed so sad to have to leave camp and come back home at the end of the weekend.

I decided that camp would have to be closer to home in order for it to be worth the effort, to me personally.  But how close?  What if the simpler life were just 100 miles away. . . or 50. . . or 10!  What if camp could be less than 10 miles away?  I could have the simple life all summer long!  

But, wait.  

If I could live there all summer, why would I move back home in the winter?  If camp was just 10 miles away, would it be worth the drive in the winter, too?  I could have the simple life all year round!  If I were going to live at camp, then I wouldn't need my 'first home' at all.  Camp could be my first home. . .

What a life that would be!  

. . . then, it occurred to me.  I already had a modest house on a wooded lot.  I could open the windows in the morning and it would smell just like camp would smell 10 miles down the road.

My home is camp, already.  I just needed to rename it.  Achieving the simpler life is actually quite easy.  

It is not a location or a building.

It is a mindset.

Understanding the mindset was the only requirement to living the simpler life.

What a home!

What a camp!

What a life!

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