Get off your ass and play in the grass
Think back for a second to your childhood. How many times can you recall your parents saying something along the lines of "Alright [insert term of endearment], stop sitting inside the house and go outside"? It doesn't matter whether you grew up in the era of radio, TV, early computers, or the Internet — every generation since the Silent Generation has embraced some form of media within the comfortable confines of their abodes. And every generation has had a slew of frustrated mothers and fathers trying in vain to get their children to enjoy the great outdoors. Let's not forget the multitude of grandparents who always began a lecture with the timeless phrase "When I was your age..."
As technology has improved over the years, it has naturally given us less reason to venture outside. Two of the implicit credos of improving technology — make activities and tasks more localized and make them require less effort — are keeping people indoors in favor of practicing the convenient rather than the worthwhile. That obesity thing isn't helping much either. Kids and young adults spend their free time playing video games about people doing things instead of the players themselves actually venturing out and doing things. Treadmills are superceding the much more visually stimulating act of running outside. Watching TV appeals much more to the masses than sauntering through a park does. You get the picture.
It's such a shame that we don't enjoy most of our time on earth as it was meant to be enjoyed; namely by immersing ourselves in it. Not only is being outside physically and leisurely gratifying, it also contains an innate sense of spiritual fulfillment as well. It's not hard to enjoy the outdoors; nature holds something for everyone. If you play basketball, play outside next time instead of inside a gym. If you're a creative person, paint, play music write or draw outside under the shade of a tree. If you read, don't read on your couch or La-Z Boy — pop a squat underneath a dogwood or in a grassy field. Take your dog out for a walk and go somewhere you haven't been before. Grab a friend and toss a frisbee around. Climb that huge tree by your house. Go for a hike or a dip in a lake. Go camping. Run. Swim. Walk. Exist.
If you live in an urban setting, get out and explore some fields in a nearby suburb or rural area. It'll do you some good to take in some lush greenery to contrast with that industrial grey that adorns your surroundings every waking moment. And if you live near a beach or even a lake in a warm climate, consider yourself blessed and take advantage of that landscape; most of us in the States don't live in such a wondrous place.
Waterparks, amusement parks, pools, river rafting and other proprietary areas are very much within limits of outdoor fun. Sure, they're not located in the midst of natural beauty but it's still an outdoor area. Hey, if you want to take baby steps in immersing yourself in nature, these places would be great ones to start at. And adults, remember that you're never too old to have fun at these places. Everyone's got that inner little kid in them that wants to get out at times but is shackled inside by the chains of "maturity." Don't be scared to let him or her out of you; you may feel stupid in the process but you'll probably feel refreshed afterwards.
Now, I don't get out as much as I'd like, but I am improving. I'm not playing the pot calling the kettle black. Recently I've been taking my acoustic guitar outside and playing for a few hours at a time. I'm eating more meals outdoors on my porch. I'm starting to take strolls outdoors again. When I can work up the desire to run, I don't use a treadmill. I love hiking and rafting when the opportunity arises. I've recently started reading a book on meditations and life (if you're into that, the book is "The Way to Love" by Anthony DiMello). It's a fantastic and deep book, and I find it penetrates my soul even more when I read it in the midst of nature, instead of a train or inside my bedroom.
And though it may be sweltering or freezing outside (thank God for fall and spring right?), I greatly enjoy myself out there nearly every time.
Going green and being environmentally-minded have only very recently become business buzzwords and household terms. It's embedded in the American consciousness these days. But in order to become green minded, we've got to experience that green first to understand what exactly it is we're advocating for. You wouldn't talk up a restaurant to friends if you'd never been there before, would you?
So get off your ass and play in the grass. Feast your eyes on the beauty around you as opposed to your device of choice's screen. Dispose of your contempt prior to investigation and seek out Mother Nature.
She'll always welcome you with open arms.