Yes, that’s right! Here on the Camp Voyageur blog, I’m advocating for maximizing misery… (NOT).
Uhhh, so what is this about?
I’ll stop with the click-baiting. The purpose of this post is to share a video which I feel speaks to some tendencies in not just teens, but in many of my own peers, that can become reinforced as habits that ultimately undermine our own happiness. It follows closely the work of psychologist Randy J. Paterson, who wrote the book How to be miserable: 40 strategies you already use.
By necessity, summer camps intervene
Many of the points addressed in the video are simply impossible at camp. You live and eat with your peers everyday, socializing face to face from the moment you wake up to the moment your eyes close. The shared experience of wilderness travel teaches the art of focusing on a long-term goal.
But I believe camp also teaches grit: a combination of perseverance and courage. To not simply deal with being uncomfortable at times, but to actively seek out opportunities and challenges which push the comfort zone.
For the record, I don’t think anything in this video or blog post is new. I think it appeals to a common sense we all share and at some level intuitively know to be true. But I can’t help but wonder… has it become easier to be miserable? I don’t think anyone is qualified to say, but perhaps we can all agree that the ways we can make ourselves miserable have changed.