Picnicking: In my top 10 of life’s simple pleasures
If you think about it, picnicking is such a simple concept. It basically consists of food, beverage and a destination. That’s it. And yet, somehow, by calling it a “picnic” it magically transforms into an event that makes our hearts leap in anticipation. It suggests something coming that’s fun and exciting! I don’t know why adding the word to the act makes a difference, but it does. I love it nonetheless. Picnicking is one of my favorite things to do.
I used to think of picnicking as a big ordeal that required the red and white checkered tablecloth and a basket full of home-made potato salad and fried chicken. But my picnic-thinking as evolved (or perhaps degraded, depending on who you ask!). As far as I’m concerned, picnicking can be what you want it to be. You get to decide whether you want an elaborate affair with linens, your favorite take-out, or even just PB&J sandwiches.
You see, it’s about the deliberate act more than anything else. Having a picnic is almost like you’re declaring your freedom from life’s constraints for a tiny window of time. If you can leave your electronic devices at home (or at least in the car), your picnic will allow you to put the world on “pause” while you step out and take a brief breather.
Personally, I think a good picnic is the answer to just about anything in life. If you’re feeling stressed, keep it simple: grab some takeout. If you’re feeling broke, take egg salad sandwiches. If you’re upset, take your favorite comfort foods. If you’re feeling romantic, plan an elaborate and thoughtful meal. If you’re missing someone, take something that reminds you of them. If you’re feeling like a bit of decadence, pack up a backpack full of appetizers and wine. It’s really up to you.
Although, the reality is that picnicking isn’t so much about the food (although, the food definitely influences the quality and mood of your picnic). I’ll go a step further and say that it’s not really about the location either. You don’t have to drive hours to get to a picnic spot. (Although, those are certainly worthwhile outings too!)
I’ll bet that you have at least a dozen good picnic spots within a short distance of your home (or work). Think outside the box. Look for place where you can put down a blanket or couple of folding chairs and enjoy just resting and watching. If it’s a quiet spot, watch nature. If it’s a busy spot, watch people. Read a book. Spend some time reflecting and in prayer. Kick off your shoes and wiggle your toes in the grass.
If no good picnic spots come to mind, it sounds like it’s high time that you did a little exploring in your own area. Learn to appreciate what’s around you. It’s ok. You can take a break from your life for a couple of hours a week. The world will still keep turning, business will still keep running, and life will still be waiting for you when you get back. But the difference is: you’ll feel better.
Depending on your mood, go picnic by yourself, with a friend, your spouse, your family or with a group. It’s all good.
The art of picnicking is about learning to be deliberate in choosing how you spend your time, where you spend your time, and who you spend it with. I think you’ll find that picnicking will bring you closer to the things and people in your life that are important to you. No matter who you are and where you are in life, you can still take small steps to simplify and enrich your life, as the humble “picnic” show us. Take this baby step in living deliberately! You won’t regret it!
4/1/17 Update: If you’re a picnic lover, then you’ll enjoy this article as well. Thanks Hannah for sharing the link!)
The Seductive Nostalgia of The Picnic