Why “Setting Up Camp” Freakishly Fast is a Good Thing.

In our first year of marriage, we met up with a friend in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas to winter camp. Snow was scarce but existent. Temperatures were unseasonably cool. The evening sun dropped near the tree-line. That we would construct our tent for the first time by Coleman lamplight stressed me out.

Kindling and other small logs were soaked. The damp air turned cold, and we used Doritos as fire starter. In pitch-black darkness, and over puny stove flames, we ate a small meal I vaguely recall. I was never so happy to see morning light.

Though grossly underprepared and naive, we would not have sat on a rock and waited until we felt like setting up camp. There was work to be done if we were going to enjoy the trails around us and not waste our tent site reservation.

This is my mentality when setting up a new classroom, and especially when setting up a new house.

Now, if you can function fully and love life blissfully for months – or even years – in an unfinished house full of boxes, why are you still reading this post? But, if you’re like me and cannot rest until you’ve set-up camp, be reassured that unpacking freakishly fast is not so insane as your Type-B Tendencies would have you to believe. These are three reasons why unpacking freakishly fast is a good thing. A necessary thing, at least for me.

  1. My Type-A Tendencies Demand I Set-Up Camp Now, Not Later. I once met a woman who took a year or so to unpack every last box. She said this to encourage me as church members carried a truckload of boxes into our parsonage. I smiled and walked away. My personality would never allow that. I’d rather be sent to therapy for my  Type-A tendencies insanity than a complete mental breakdown. Things get ugly when even the sink overflows with dishes for a day too long. It’s better for my mental health to just get done what needs to get done. For better or worse, I can’t function blissfully otherwise.
  2. We Need a Haven to Retreat to. To be uprooted and told where to go is tough enough. You always leave home just when a solid group of friends develops, just when you begin to love a city in spite of the traffic. In a new state, a new town, and a new house, it’s comforting to open the front door and see your stuff – the stuff that made it unscathed – assembled and ready for use. Even when everything looks and feels unfamiliar, at least the house at your new address looks and feels familiar.
  3. Far Be it from Me to Waste Daylight. Who knows how long we will stay here? Though the average CONUS stay is four years, you can never know when it comes to the U.S. Military. I love this house and this neighborhood. It’s great to once again live in Alabama and mere hours from so many cool places. I’d hate to sit lazily on a rock, put off settling in, and assume I’ve got plenty of time at this address. Remember, these are wildflower days. Nothing lasts forever.

Certainly unpacking does not last forever and hard work pays off. We’ve already hosted three times and now that I’m free of the burden of setting up camp, I can focus on plugging in and making friends.

Photo Credit: Michael Reavis Photography



One Comment

  1. Richard W. Buro

    As always, I love your posts, Mrs. Raygoza. Your ideas about getting things done is on point. Rita, my wife, is exactly the same way. We always work together on our or our daughter’s needs for “extra hands.” Thanks as always for your intentionality isva God-Given gift.


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