I love the outdoors. I grew up pitching tents in the backyard, listening to the sounds of crickets and frogs and boaters on the Rock River. I remember making shadow puppets with my hands on the dank interior canvas. And I remember the hard, uneven ground beneath my body as I curled up in my sleeping bag to bed down for the night, hoping there weren’t too many mosquitoes bedding down with me.
It wasn’t convenient. But it made me feel alive.
My husband and his family camp differently. They rent deluxe RVs and drive them into the wilderness. These suckers come with hot running water, stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, and queen-size beds. It is the height of convenience. I call it glamping.
This past weekend, we glamped.
As much as I wanted to resist the highfalutin environment, I’ve got to admit: I wasn’t missing the hard earth and the mosquitoes when I was putting my baby and toddler to sleep. The cold and rainy nights in the Porcupine Mountains would have been pretty rough in my flimsy pup tent.
It got me thinking about how hard it is to be 100% anything these days. I often feel conflicted. I can no longer say I'm the kind of person who likes to rough it. Because sometimes, I'm not.
To make matters worse, we live in an era where we all have access to information on ways we should live our lives to increase our health and happiness. I know I should feed my family organic food. I know I should put money into a savings account every month. I know I should spend my evenings pursuing my passions. And on and on.
But some weeks, I'm not a person with time to get organic food. And some months, I'm not a person who can afford to put money into a saving’s account; we’re barely scraping by as it is. And some nights, I’m so tired that I just scroll through Instagram before passing out at the wee hour of 8 pm.
So how am I supposed to be the kind of person I have to be, and still be the kind of person I want to be?
The answer that brings me peace comes from Pete Seeger (and also Ecclesiastes): to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time for organic food, a time for Tombstone pizza. A time to save money, and a time to blow it all on medical bills. A time to write music, and a time to check the Twitter feed. A time to pitch a tent, and a time to glamp the heck out of the woods.
And now, there is a time to unpack. Because that's what I have to do. Reader, go easy on yourself this week. There is a season for it all. Sometimes, we do what we have to do, and sometimes, we do what we want to do. That's all there is to it. I leave you with a picture of the sunrise I saw over Lake Superior this morning. See you next Sunday (or Monday, depending on when I get back from North Carolina). -Em