One of my best friends is leaving me for the summer. This makes me very sad. I hate to admit it, but I’m also jealous of her. I hate being jealous of friends. I feel that not being happy for your friends is a bad character trait, so I can’t believe that I feel this way now. But my best friend is leaving me – for overnight camp.
Yes, she’s dropping everything for two months and heading back to camp, at age 40, to supervise camp counselors. She’s the CEO of a new company, and yet she’s decided that what will make her happy this summer is to spend two months at Camp Timberlane, a popular overnight camp in Halliburton.
I’m always envious of people who can make such decisions. I have often wanted to run away and live in Paris for a few months, or move to Maui…forever. But then I think of reality – my daughter, her school, my house, and I think, ‘How do people just drop everything and do that?’ Is it realistic?
Yet, more and more people I know drop everything to follow their childhood desires and I get envious. Not only is my best friend pursuing what makes her happy, but another friend of mine is moving to Paris for a year, and another is spending a semester with her kids in Italy. If they can do it, why can’t I? Am I not brave enough? Am I too – ga! – old to change my ways?
So, I talked to Joanna Track, my best friend and the CEO and co-founder of Dealuxe.ca to ask her how she made the decision to drop everything and relive her childhood dream. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Follow your gut: When asked if it was hard to make the decision Track says, “Not really. In hindsight maybe I should have thought about it more! But there was something inside of me that told me this was something I wanted and needed to do.” So just go for it.
2. Don’t worry about what people think: “The reactions have been mixed. Most people who have had camp experiences are so supportive and happy for me. Some people don’t take it seriously and think I’m having a mid-life crisis.” Don’t worry about people’s reactions. Some will be positive and some won’t.
3. People will be jealous: “There were definitely some jealous reactions,” says Track. “Some were genuinely envious that they aren’t able to do the same thing, but want to live vicariously through me.” Envy is a human reaction.
4. Just because others are doing it doesn’t mean you have to: “I don’t think it’s for everyone,” says Track. “Many adults are comfortable with the amenities of city life and don’t want to go back to camp living.” Also, many just don’t have the means. “A lot of people can’t do this. But I believe that many would love to take the opportunity if their lives allowed it.”
5. Live out your fantasies and cherish the moments: “For me, this is about giving back,” says Track. “I gained so much from my camp experience so if I can impart that on just a few campers and staff, then I’ll have fulfilled my goal. I am being careful not to expect camp to be the same as it was when I was there, so I’m hoping to create new experiences and cherish the memories I already have.”
6. Yes you can do it, if you really want to: “I think it’s important to have things you are truly passionate about that you love doing,” says Track. “Maybe that’s a sport or a hobby, or spending time with your old friends. You only live life once. You don’t want regrets.”
7. You don’t have to drop everything to feel like a kid again: “I have a close group of girlfriends that I’ve been friends with for over 25 years. We try to get together once a month for dinner. Nothing makes me feel more like a kid again than laughing and telling stories with them,” says Track.
So, yes, let’s be happy for those who can drop everything and relive their childhood dreams. And if you can’t do it, as Track says, there are other ways. For now, I’m planning ahead for my semester in Paris. Where there’s a will, there’s a way and my best friend has given me the motivation I needed. Hope she enjoys the camp grilled cheese sandwiches. Now that really makes me envious!