Learning from the outdoors what it means to be content

Most of my adult life I’ve wondered what it means to be content.  As a young adult, I was always caught up in the future by thinking “I’ll be happy when…” “…when I land that job, when I lose 15 lbs., when I go on that trip”.  It was a vicious cycle that I couldn’t escape.  I chalked it up to being a kid and that I had a lot to accomplish before I could really be happy.  Meeting Mark and spending our lives together has taught me that happiness is a state of mind not a dollar figure in your bank account or title on your business card.  While I’d discovered what it meant to be truly happy, the feeling of contentedness still eluded me.  Honestly, I began to view contentedness as something negative.  I saw it as complacency.  If I’m content I’m not striving for more in my life.  That was up until we purchased our truck camper and started spending a lot more time in the great outdoors.

The other night while sitting beside a warm campfire in the AZ desert, I told Mark I’ve never once experienced contentment until now.  This feeling doesn’t exist at home but here (camping) I feel the most clear, the most at peace, the most present.  My mind is not intoxicated with ideas of the past and the future.  It is here that I can simply be and simply live.  And live simply.

When we camp, each day consists of 3 primary tasks.  Find a place to sleep, feed ourselves and keep ourselves warm.  I find a lot of peace in that kind of simplicity and through that simplicity I find more time to live in the moment.

“If you’re depressed, you’re living in the past.  If you’re anxious, you’re living in the future.  If you’re at peace, you’re living in the present.”   -Lao Zu

Surrounding myself by the sun, the moon, the stars, mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes is the only way I’ve ever been able to slow my mind down from its constant chatter.  Living among the Great Outdoors, breathing in fresh air, smelling fresh chopped wood burn and appreciating what I have right here and right now – that’s my definition of content.

Add Comment

By Michele


Hi, I'm Michele, a nomadic wedding photographer and lover of the great outdoors. I live on the road full-time and document my adventures daily. This is my personal blog where I share and record my thoughts on living simply and intentionally with less stress and more joy. Check out my wedding and portrait photography at http://www.oncwest.com


Recent Posts