I mentioned before that I went to summer camp this past weekend. I noticed something this year in particular, though I've kind of noticed it in the back of my mind other years as well as at other concerts.
It's become pretty regular for me that at some point on Friday of summer camp, usually during one of the later shows in the evening, I start wondering if I really want to do this for two more days. It's pretty rough, especially if it's sunny the whole time - which (I suppose I can be grateful for the weather somehow) it was not this time. You get tired quickly, you have to work pretty hard to stay hydrated, and you're standing for really long periods of time. As enjoyable as the concerts are, it's hard to go to that many. (I assume it's easier if you are, like most of the people there, not 100% sober, whether from legal or illegal substances.)
My (soon-to-be-former) roommate Eric and I have got a pretty good system now, where we decide how much we want to see a band, and based on that decide whether we should get up in the crowd close to the band, stand a little farther back, or carry some chairs to the stage and sit near the back. Sometimes we even just sat at our tent, which was close enough to one of the stages to hear pretty well. You don't get as good of an experience from the back or from the tent, but you still get to hear a good live concert, and it gives you some time to recover and relax to some good music.
And yet, the best experiences of the entire weekend were by far the ones where we got as close to the band as we could, jostled in the crowd for a comfortable place to stand, and then stayed on our feet for the entire concert. We were 30 feet away from Bela Fleck and we got pretty close for some of the moe. sets, and those are two of the most memorable parts of the weekend for me. Even though they were tiring and left me needing a break, I will remember them far more than the sets where we sat in the back and saw... wait, who was that band anyway?
I've found this more and more in the things I do... often, it's more enjoyable to relax and take it easy at the time, but I always have fonder memories of the time I went out of my way to put a little more effort in. I'm not even talking at this point about working hard on something rather than being lazy - those who know me know I don't have much room to talk there anyway. I'm just talking one type of fun against another. I've found that if I imagine something being a good story to tell, and do it even if it will be a little more unpleasant than the alternative, I come out feeling more... happy with my life.
I have a feeling this will be a recurring theme in my posts this summer. As much as this trip will be fun, I know it's going to be difficult at points. Riding through Arizona at the beginning of August, riding across desolate stretches of nothing with no scenery, riding five or six hours some days... I'll probably complain. But I will remember this trip more fondly, and remember more specific things about it, than I would if I went and sat on a beach for four months.