On Sunday May 7th, I turned 29 years old. In many ways I still feel like 21 year old college grad scrambling to figure this whole adult thing out. But overall, I’m so proud of the life I’ve created, I’ve worked for, and I’ve chosen. Today as I sit in my office on this chilly May day, I want to make a new goal. In my 29th year of life I want to be outside more. In a world increasingly focused on progress, productivity, and consumerism we have become so disconnected from the beautiful world God has created. If I think about it too much, I get totally overwhelmed. I couldn’t tell you where most of my food comes from and the thought that there are entire ecosystems being destroyed is scary. And I’m not pointing fingers here, I’m 100% part of the problem. I love shopping, beautifully updated homes, and the general comfort of living in a bustling city in the middle of America. I couldn’t live a day without my straighter or Amazon Prime. But as Plato so eloquently put it, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” So as I begin this next year of life, I’m not trying to change the world, I’m not turning my life upside down, I just want to spend more time outside.
Whenever I get overwhelmed by all the world’s problems and my contribution to those problems or lack of contribution to their solution, I always go back to Mother Teresa’s quote, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” The solution always starts with ourselves and impacting those closest to us. It’s so easy when I watch a beautiful documentary on Patagonia and how it’s slowly being taken over for commercial enterprise to think my next step to solve the problem needs to be moving to the mountains of Chile, living off the land, and working to preserve the natural resources God has given us. But that’s not a solution, that’s just a really cool thing to do. The solution is to be outside more, right where I am. The solution is to take my kids outside more and give them an appreciation and a care for the Earth.
This spring I’ve started gardening. It’s nothing fancy, I’m really only guessing, and reading the tags on the plants. But it’s a start. It’s taken me outside more because now I have a connection. These are my plants, my flowers, that I’ve learned about, planted, and cultivated and I want to be outside with them. I tell Mark that they’re all my little babies. I’m kind of joking, but not really 😉 I’ve taken so much pride in watching them grow from little seeds and starters to flourishing plants. And once again, it’s a small step. I’m not growing my own produce here, I’m planting pretty flowers. But this small step is encouraging me to do more. It’s made me think about how I can take this new found passion and translate it to more time outside or growing produce that can feed my family right from my backyard.
I’m not there yet, I’m just proud of the fact that I’ve actually been the one to dig holes, spread dirt, and put plants in the ground. I’m just patting myself on the back because I know the names of some flowers and can tell you where to plant them in your garden. But I’m hoping these small things can become a jumping point for my family. I would love to take my girls hiking and camping. I want to go on adventurous mountain trips with my family so that we can all breathe in the wonders of creation. But, honestly I don’t even know if I could survive a night in the woods without kids! So in my next year of life, I want to be outside more, I want to take time to learn how to make that a reality in my family, and I want to take more time to step back and smell the roses. God has given us such a beautiful world, and I would be totally at fault if I missed experiencing it.
Please share with me! How do you get outside? How do you share a love for the outdoors with your family? Do you camp with kids… PLEASE share tips!!