When we go back in time, there was once a state in which nearly everyone lived deeply connected to nature and the outdoors. People farmed their land, they hunted and they gathered. It was very clear and the order of the world made sense. In a day and age where the speed of everything has gone into mach 5, I feel more than ever it is crucial to move backwards in the way we approach life. Today, we are annoyed when we find out about breaking news 10 minutes after our friends and colleagues. We expect instant responses from our friends and co-workers, we demand 24-7 communication, and we are upset when we don’t draw the perfect search result from Google. I run an internet business and am guilty of many of these traits and expectations, but it has come to this. Has it not?

Many of our children play video games instead of floor hockey, or baseball, and their access to noisy garbage online is certainly unlike anything my generation had. I hate to admit it, but in college I had a pager and a Brother word processor. Never has there been a more important time than now to expose our youth, ourselves, our parents, friends and families to the outdoors. I recently read about a recently recognized condition called “NDD”, or Nature Deficit Disorder. It is a sad reality that many people do not enjoy and or appreciate the critical importance of the outdoors and what it can do to expand the mind, our focus, and to calm the emotions or stress, and keep the ego in check by creating a more peaceful and fulfilled life.

If there is one action item I hope you all take from this, here it is: at some point in the near future stop your vehicle, get outside and lean up against a tree and close your eyes. Listen to the sounds of the birds, the leaves blowing, the animals walking, and breathe that energy in deeply. Our bond with nature is much of the key to a life that is more fulfilled. Let us take the thoughts, the secrets and the ideals and energy of those who stood centuries before us and not allow NDD to infect our society.

Photo: Horton Group

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4 thoughts on “Nature and the Pursuit of Life: Staying in Touch with the Outdoors

  1. Well put David. I think not only children need to heed this advice. Between fantasy sports and fan-dom as a whole, I think most adults could take a break from the computer screen and get a breath of fresh air.

  2. I hate to admit it, but I find myself contributing to this condition with my own kids sometimes. Not only do I love the outdoors, but I also love gadgets, so they have their iPods, Xbox, Wii, etc. With all these distractions I notice a huge difference in their behavior when they’re stuck indoors vs spending time outdoors.

    Even something as simple as a hike at a nearby park or bike ride in the field behind our house with the kids results in a huge change in attitude. I can see the enjoyment in their face, and they just behave differently in general.

    I’m more in tune with this now that they’re growing older, so I make more of an effort to get out with them. This weekend we’ll be camping in the Oregon wilderness, away from cell phones, computers, iPods, etc. I can’t wait to get outside and do as you suggest…lean up against a tree, close my eyes, and take it all in.

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