Recently, I have a new-found joy in being in nature. And with that comes the questioning within me: is this something I’ve always enjoyed or is it something truly new-found? Is loving nature a matter of nature or nurture?
As a child, I loved playing outdoors: climb trees, jump across creeks, biking on mud paths, dig into dirt, eat dirt, eat grass, pick raw corn from the fields and eat it (it was nasty). My parents thought girls should not behave this way, so I was often restrained in playing outdoors. I was supposed to wear dresses, study and play the piano. And at some point, I think this became my usual behaviour – by nurture not nature – and I forgot about this until much, much later on. I think my OCD behaviour is nurture, not nature. Unfortunately, this behaviour is still in me when I’m indoors, but much less when I’m outdoors. This already shows how nature leads the better path.
I have been a late-bloomer in many ways. I was a good student in elementary school, but I started rebelling in high school and I always just passed the tests. My first year in university was all about play and I only became a nerd in my second year of university. I guess I still had to figure myself out a bit, but I have never been as critical a thinker as I am today. I would never make the same choices/mistakes now as I did back then. I may have never had the UN dream and would have escaped the UN nightmare. Or maybe I would have stayed with my fighter jet pilot dream as a kid and never gone to law school. Or, decided on the wilderness cabin life at the age of 16 and started learning about it at a much younger age, making it easier to make that jump out of society and into the wild. I don’t know. But I do think that we, as humans, are modelled into something by parents and/or society. And unfortunately, this leads to many of us not being who we truly are or want to be. Can we still go back?
I know that I want to be closer to nature (flora and fauna) as well as nature (who I truly am at the source). I don’t like or understand society; I didn’t like or understand other children when I was a child and the same goes for adults today (while I do seem to understand children more now – late-blooming again). I was always a bit of an odd one and I still am. I like connecting with people, but only those who are sincere and who are also true to who they are (too many fakers – and haters – out there). I remember a dinner with a good friend in New York. It was my last night there before I would fly out to California. We were at a small restaurant and these two guys next to us started talking to us – mainly him – about the work they do. So-called ‘networking’. I was so bored of the topics that I just stared outside of the window, eavesdropped at a conversation that was going on at another table near us (which was a lot more real and funny). I can’t do this ‘networking’ thing and I don’t think it’s natural to do this. I’ve heard other people tell me I’m good in networking, but often that was after they saw me making contact with someone I’m genuinely interested in getting to know. In that case, I’m excited about knowing more about someone. Establishing a connection should be based on a connection, common interest, something pure. Not potential business so that you can do better work and make more money. I think money itself is bullshit too. Necessary bullshit unfortunately, but bullshit. We’re a silly society, I think. And I’m sure society thinks I’m a silly lady.
Anyways, speaking of business, or busyness… In this society, we all want to be busy, or seem busy. Especially in the Netherlands, where people plan everything into their calendars weeks, if not months, in advance. I understand the need for this in professional settings, but in private settings? Is this something we, as humans, like to do? Or is it something that we’re used to doing because everyone is doing it?
Where’s the spontaneity? There’s simply no room for that. This is one of the things I found hardest coming back to the Netherlands: how everything is over-organised. So, I refuse to plan everything far in advance. The only exception is travel, because apparently when you are planning something for September (7 months into the future from now on) you already receive a response that things are fully booked (what?!). I prefer to just go and arrive at a lodge or camp site and stay the night there. But if everyone plans everything ahead like this, I’m afraid I have to comply with it when I’m limited in time. Sucks though. Oh, and this isn’t even in the Netherlands but in Namibia and Botswana, but I guess with lots of Europeans visiting these places, the mentality spreads too.
And the weird thing is that people then, being busy and all, complain about not having enough time for themselves. What? I think it also has to do with the fact that people don’t actually want time for themselves.
When I tell people I’m travelling solo, they may respond with “You’ll be doing some soul searching!”, to which I respond with an awkward smile. What do you mean, soul searching? As if you only reflect when you are travelling solo? I’m a loner by definition, so why would I only think and reflect while travelling? I like the book/movie Wild (wilderness, yay!), but the Eat, Pray, Love thing, not so much (too exaggerated and up there). They seem to be put into the same category, as if it’s self-help for those who are lost. I’m guess I’m one of those “not all those who wander are lost” people. But for the majority of people, they don’t know what to do with themselves when they are alone or when they are not busy. Being surrounded by people or doing something is like a form of therapy – they don’t need to think about who they are, what they want, etc. They can escape the questions of reality. But when the ‘other things’ fall away, they feel extremely lost and either throw themselves into a new ‘addition’ (as being busy can be) or need to step back in order to figure it all out, which they are scared of doing. At least, these are my general observations.
So, to stay true to nature, I like to keep my weekends free so I can explore little pieces of wilderness and go back to a place where nothing is prescribed by society. And when I stay in, I like to think about what I truly want to do and whether that desire comes from something that was marketed into my brain or whether it is something true to me. If people would take more time for themselves and do nothing – or near nothing – they would know better who they are without all those characteristics and requirements that are prescribed by society. Be true to nature – in both senses of the word. ❤