Last weekend I went camping with a bunch of strangers. Odd, I know. Even odder for me, the girl who likes the safety of her family, her house, her dog, and her seemingly unlimited supply of Diet Coke and Breaking Bad episodes (I know, I KNOW it’s going to end … *sobs into pillow*). But wtf … I’m turning 40 in a few weeks and I’ve weirdly turned braver and more daring. I’m definitely caring less and less about superficial things. “I yam who I am” and all that.
When my high school friend, Amy, who I haven’t seen in easily 17 years, messaged me about Brittany Gibbons’ revolutionary (to me, anyway) new vacation experience … the adult summer camp lovingly called CAMP THROWBACK … where you get to be a kid again all while being legally able to drink alcohol … I was intrigued. But, shit!, it was the weekend of my 15th wedding anniversary! Is it ok to blow off your husband for 3 days to go hang out with strangers (plus a kick ass high school friend)?
Turns out it is!!! I’ve talked about the Hubs before here, so you all know how
annoyingly and yet adorably perfect he is. And this was no exception.
“Go! Have fun!!” he smiled.
With a beautiful anniversary card tucked secretly away in my bag, he sent me on my way.
I’m going to leave out the part where I tell you how horrendous my seasonal allergies were and that I had the most horrific sinus infection of my ENTIRE LIFE because that’s only gonna make you feel bad for me and you’ll miss the point. But next year? Yeah – preventative medication will be my best friend.
Somehow Amy and I hit the cabin mates jackpot, because we (in my humble opinion) got THE. BEST. Cabin mates. Theresa and V, Deborah, Mary and Gina, Retta and Emily … all with their own stories … all amazing people. And fun. SO. DAMN. FUN.
Amy and I did our best to participate in everything while squeezing in gossipy catch up sessions that involved a ridiculous amount of, “WHAT?!”s and “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!”s and “I know exactly what you mean”s … the latter being why we jumped back on the proverbial bike after not having seen each other in forever.
When we dressed up for our Friday night 90’s party – me attempting to channel my inner Claire Danes (unsuccessfully, I might add), Amy spent a good hour doing her hair like “the old days” Holy. SHIT. She looked EXACTLY like she did in middle/high school. Even the BACK of her hair looked the same! What a gift to be able to hang out with her again in such a great place!
I could go on and on about all the cool camp activities Brittany had lined up – like bonfires, drunken dodgeball, friendship bracelets, a Jenny Talia concert, and puffy paint – but I really want to express how incredible the PEOPLE were. My best description? They were authentically, unapologetically themselves. And that’s a truly rare thing these days. I felt instantly comfortable around them. I didn’t feel the need to interject 30 things about myself into every conversation in the hopes that they would like me. If anything, I felt like I spent the time absorbing their positive vibes and fun attitudes. I didn’t worry about my make up or my hair or my muffin top. (Did you hear me??? I DIDN’T WORRY ABOUT MY HAIR!!).
There was the REAL Jenna – a ridiculously adorable yoga instructor with a contagious smile (and ability to twerk on command), and Kate, the literary agent from New York City – who took a breezy 10 minutes to explain her job while Amy and I drooled and stared on in awe, and Loren, who, despite having three little ones at home, just got her college degree (along with her husband!!) – her dedication and motivation truly inspiring … hell, I’m pretty sure I accidentally sent Guy to school yesterday without breakfast … and I don’t have a damn thing going on.
And so many more …
And of course I got to meet the amazing Brittany Gibbons … who was so sweet and kind and exactly who she is on her blog and so truly brave to put on this AMAZING event.
Sometimes, when you’re in the midst of a true life experience, you don’t always see everything … you are wrapped up in a cozy blanket of moments and living life presently … which is how it should be. But when you glance back and put all the pieces together, you can be absolutely blow away.
That would be me.