A few years ago, friends presented me with a maroon “Happy Camper” t-shirt which I wore to run, in races, and out exploring. I loved it. It was my reminder to live as a happy camper might with joy, curiosity, expectation, and play. At the time, my days had little room for play. So much got squished into that busy season; I needed to make room to practice living the happy camper life. This is true today.
Monday, an adventuring friend joined me for a glass of wine al fresco. We’d hit 92 degrees that day and good company on the porch seemed like an appropriate response. Her weekend had been full of traveling and mine full of…sweetness and painful learning. We both needed a little happy camper which is where the merlot came in. Happy Camper merlot that is.
As the sun wound its way below the horizon and the wind cooled our arms and toes, we talked and laughed and cried and ate some of the best green cheese in memory. I cannot remember if we blew bubbles into the rising wind, but they were available.
In this full-on wine and cheese on the tiny porch evening, we took risks to reveal ourselves in our vulnerabilities and our strengths. We created space to learn more. Space in which to fill with goofiness, curiosity, joy, expectation, and play. We talked about fellas; cute ones with extraordinary bits and attributes we find terribly attractive.
The wine was pretty wonderful, too. Unassuming. Rich. Flavorful with no tannin-headache afterwards. Just like the evening and the richness of my friends.
A few thoughts about happy campers and their odd and wonderful ways:
- no one can be happy all the time though arguably one could camp all the time
- a little derring do and chutzpah is required to live bravely enough to risk “happy”
- the happiest campers value people over position; few social-climbing folks take the time to truly embrace their inner happy camper
- kids and puppies are good coaches for the happy camper curious; they examine, romp, sniff, savor, delight, and play with abandon…most of the time
- my friends who are happy campers are a mixed bag: some are stridently attractive and/or healthy, some have chronic illnesses, some are introverts, and others are extroverts; some have advanced degrees others have learned much along the way in classrooms of war, hard work, and wonder; most are still learning
- Happy Camperisms are not easily packaged taglines for social media. Sometimes a happiest camper will say, “we don’t suck so much today” or “stop the car! did you see what was painted on that barn?” All sorts of everyday ordinary life is expressed by people of wonder and intention. Gossip is not. Grief sometimes shows up. Hope finds a way into the happy camper lexicon.
- many happy campers know sorrow intimately and on several fronts; these campers have learned the value of seeking joy, exercising their wonder, and fighting for peace -even if that means carrying fresh forgiveness forward each day or feeling the feels
- happy campers know how to show up and work hard; they know how to play hard, too (looking at you, Bavarians!)
I want my quirkiness to matter for the greater good. I think the authentic life of a happy camper is one way to do it. I am open to your suggestions.
I am also open to your ideas about the blog. Not sure if derring do is as relevant today in my life as it was when this began. What are you looking for? Why did you stop by? Got any life you want to speak here?
I will listen. And share my happy camper with you.