I’ve just returned from a five-day trip under the biggest sky there is—Wyoming. This got me thinking about the outdoors. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I believe that once we’ve exhausted the thrills of human-made things, the mystery that’s left lives in the things wehaven’tmade.
This may seem like a change of topic, but bear with me here: there is some wisdom to pop-punk, after all. Embarrassingly, one of my favorite bands in high school was called Operation Ivy. There is a lyric I loved and still love. It says “All I know is that I don’t know nothin’.”While my taste in music has evolved, what hasn’t is my appreciation for that line of thinking.
There is no greater reminder that we don’t know shit than watching a bird hop around. What’s her deal? Where’s she going? Does she know something about this existence that I don’t? Was she thinking when she took that shit? What is she thinking about anyway? Am I in a Disney cartoon right now? Psych yourself out enough, and anything is entertaining.
Whenever I want to appreciate something—be it a hike, a vacation, a bike ride, swimming in a pool—I imagine what the virtual reality version of that would be like. “Whoa, weird, I’m running and there are green things growing on the ground around me!” “Oh shit, don’t fall!” I then remind myself that what I’m experiencing is SO MUCH BETTER than any expensive simulation could ever be. I put myself in an imagined game and stay there, reminding myself of how novel everything truly can be.
Want a vacation? Here’s a trick: Look out onto a hillside, at a pool, at the horizon, onto the ocean, in a forest, and pretend you’re in another country on an exotic trip. Oh wow, what scenery. This is an expensive trip, so I’d better make it worth it! Take it all in, because this won’t last.
Everything around you will become more beautiful when you play games that force you to be in the moment and to appreciate what you have. Pretty trippy, right?