At one point in life we all go to summer camp. Maybe it’s not an over night summer camp, maybe it’s a school trip, or a vacation across the state with an odd relative, or maybe starting college. Whatever it is, it shakes us to our core.
The best part about this initial experience is that it’s baptism-by-fire, typically someone is holding you to the flames. There’s no chance for escape, you are experiencing this.
What’s good about this is that later in life, when you start to get that flip-floppy feeling in your stomach you kind of know what to expect. You can look back at that initial sleep away camp experience and say “yup this is that same thing.” It’ll be wrapped up in different packaging and might be about 10 years later but you’ll still feel like you’re 11 years old venturing out on your own for the first time.
Seriously, as you well know by now, this feeling doesn’t come around often. Honestly, the older you get the more you miss it. The older you get the more established in a routine you are, the more your days bleed into one another going on and on and on without much definition. So when this “life altering” experience or feeling comes along, run with it.
There’s a reason you feel this way, look back to the original experience, look at how rewarding it was to get picked up by Mom and Dad with a pocket full of letters and addresses from new friends. Look back at all the “scary” things you did that summer and how great you feel about accomplishing them. That’s how it’ll feel now, except ten fold, and maybe with a bigger pay check.
When I look back on all I’ve done in the short 20 odd year’s I’ve existed on this planet I’ve been lucky enough to experience this feeling at least a handful of times. Yet there is one time when I wish I would have chosen the path less traveled, the scarier path. I was at sleep away camp and had the chance to go on a 10 day long backpack. I turned it down for my “shoulder issue” (which was a chronic issue – and still is today, but I could have dealt with it.) I didn’t go on the trip, I was scared that I wouldn’t be a good enough hiker, that I wasn’t strong enough or experienced enough to handle the trip.
I should have trusted more in myself, my life and the fact that really – they weren’t going to send an incapable 15 year old out there on my own if I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. (Hello, liability.)
So this is just a note to you, gently jabbing you in the ribs. Just do it already, seriously just f-ing do it. What’s the worst that can happen? You fail miserably? Ok well then, lesson learned, that sucked, try again.
Welcome to life. You get a zillion chances everyday to create and experience. So don’t cop out now.