Last Child In The Woods – 11k With May

What’s trending… How do we remove ourselves from the hustle and bustle, screen time, and our constant need to be connected. Steve Jobs may have been the mastermind behind the iPhone, but indirectly, was also the mastermind behind the mobile screen addict, or as Louis C.K. put it, the “forever empty”. We have a constant need to be connected and when alone, we find ourselves instantly looking for gratification from our cell phone. Im guilty of it, we’re all guilty of it. Like Wall-E, technology will inevitably make us more and more lazy. It’s already happening, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to disconnect and be present with our families and ourselves.

Recently i’ve been inspired to make a change in myself. This year, James Lawrence aka, The Iron Cowboy, completed 50 Iron Man’s in 50 days in 50 states. Obviously a true feat of human endurance, and he’s inspired a lot of people to set goals that seem crazy, but push the mind to its limits. But what does that mean for me? Let me give you some background.

I grew up in a family that loved being in the outdoors. We camped many times a year as a family, and I attribute my love and passion for the outdoors to my parents for those experiences. I also had an amazing friend and mentor at a young age that also took me camping that helped me discover why I loved being outside. I was just like any other 90’s kid. I played Nintendo to my hearts desire, I had a TV in my bedroom, I sat on my floor and played with Lego’s. But I didn’t have 2015 technology at my fingertips either. I am sure my childhood would have been a little different had there been iPhones and 2015 technology. With all of those distractions though, I loved being outside. I spent many summer days with my brothers fishing along the Provo River, riding my bike all over, and building forts in an empty lot down the street from my house. I loved being outside!

A few years ago I read a book called, Last Child In The Woods. In quick words, the author talks about how we’re slowly losing our ability to appreciate the outdoors and how we as a society have made excuses for not allowing ourselves and children to play outdoors. Slowly we have become the inside people. We fear being outside, and we fear each other. Sending my child outside to play is viewed as dangerous now. Really, it’s pathetic and ridiculous how sensitive we as people have become to each other and what we do with our lives. The lack of authentic social interaction is quickly deteriorating into self absorbed personalities that don’t know how to communicate and disconnect from devices that keep us from being natural humans, a natural need to play. But this begs the question, will it ever change? Will society ever go back to what we knew in the 90’s and before? I have to argue, that no it will never be the same again. So instead of sitting around complaining about it, make a decision to change and be different from society. Let your kids go outside and play,

Which that then leads me to my commitment. I spoke about The Iron Cowboy briefly. I’ve had the opportunity to spend a little bit of time with him and his family at Momentum Climbing in Lehi, where I work. James and his family have been spending some time at Momentum each week as a new activity for their family to do. In many people’s minds, he’s like this super human that no other person can touch. He’s become a celebrity. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a person. He had to make a choice to be who he is, and work hard to accomplish the goals that he set.

For the last year, my wife and I have been looking forward to bringing a child into our home. We’re excited to be a family and excited for the new adventure. With an adventure like this, comes a dedication to new goals and lifestyle. I’ve been pretty unhappy with my level of activity over the last year, and from the outside it appears as though i’ve been fairly active. Katie and I had one of the best summers of our time together, and I was able to get some backpacking in that I have been wanting to do for a long time. We loved all of the time spent adventuring this summer. But part of that was because we knew this baby is coming and we wanted to get some trips in, just the two of us.

This has caused me to reevaluate my level of activity, and make some goals that involve keeping my family active. I know that a baby is going to be a difficult change for our family. This little girl is going to be our world though. We’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time, and now that she is here, we’re just smitten.

So here’s my commitment, to myself and to my family. Just because it’s hard, or inconvenient, doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it. I want to be the person and father that my children look up to as a mentor and as someone that inspired them to try hard things, and take chances on life.
I want Maylin to see being in the mountains her way of decompressing, enjoying life, and escaping the hustle and bustle. I want to see her love being in the sun, seeing wildlife in their natural habitat, cherishing simple moments of solitude only found when deep in the backcountry.

Before Maylin turns 1, Katie and I have a goal to summit all of the 11,000 foot peaks in the Wasatch Range. That’s 36 peaks in total. We are calling this adventure, 11k With May and will be captured through video and blog posts as we accomplish the goal.

The moral here is, get out and enjoy the outdoors! Make goals and achieve them! Teach yourself and your kids the good that comes from being active and spending time in the backcountry.

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