Camp-clean

You’re always content when adversity is your yardstick

A few years ago, I’d gone camping with a friend. We’d just finished dinner, and I was doing my best to rinse out our cooking utensils in the feeble glow of my tent light. We didn’t have much water or detergent. After fussing about for a bit, my friend, seeing I wasn’t entirely happy with the outcome, said “It’s ok, they’re camp-clean.” Meaning of course they’re not as clean as they could be, but they’re clean enough, and I should leave them be. There were other things to enjoy—crackling fire, hot cocoa and… stars.

That stayed with me. Maybe because I’ve always believed that adversity builds character. That if you’ve experienced it often enough, the minor inconveniences of everyday life barely register. I’ve had my fair share, and I’m grateful for it. As a parent, I’ve often wondered about how I might have my 5 year-old experience adversity so she better appreciates what she has, doesn’t sweat the small stuff. Anyway, this piece by Markham Heid reminded me that ‘camp-clean’ is a great way to look at all things in life. And that every once in a while you should consider trudging through the Arctic tundra with an 80-pound pack.

Father, husband, designer. Trying to do as much with as little as possible.