When you read that, imagine Ryan Gosling asking from The Notebook
That’s how I’d been feeling for a while. Frustrated, needing to make a decision, and wanting so badly to know the honest truth of what I really wanted to do next with my life.
I’m super grateful to be in a position in which I am able to think about wants and not simply needs, let alone multiple options to consider. I’m trying to be centered in that idea, never forgetting how privileged I am, acknowledging the position I’m in, and being truly thankful to all those in my life that support me!
Try it out though. Challenge yourself and dig deep. If you could do something, what would it be? What would you work towards? What would you want to do? It’s easy to get caught up in the routines of life, so try and broaden your ideas.
For so long, my answers fit in with what I think of as normal in the West Michigan culture I grew up in. I hoped to meet someone, grow that relationship and get married, buy a house, have some kids. All while having a meaningful job that would allow me to get by alright and do some traveling every now and again. Nothing wrong with that at all! I still long for aspects of that and often find myself envious of my friends and family that have followed that path.
It doesn’t always pan out that way though. Sometimes things fall apart.
But, maybe it doesn’t have to look that way and that’s what I’m exploring. There are some things you can’t simply will into existence, and living a life solely for some potential future outcome seems futile. So then, what? What’s important to me and what brings me joy each and every day. What keeps me going?
What do I want?
And is that even the right question? I mean, that’s pretty selfish, right? Maybe my path forward should be guided by something more. Shouldn’t my life be used to do some good? How can I bring about more happiness, less pain, and positive change into the world?
So yeah… I’ve been dabbling in some big concept ideas. And in such times, I listen to the advice of the great Ted Lasso…
“You just listen to your gut, okay? And on your way down to your gut, check in with your heart. Between those two things, they’ll let you know what’s what. They make good harmony, like two-thirds of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, you know what I mean?”
Maybe I’m reading too much into this and will fully admit I’d follow Coach Lasso through anything, but ultimately that’s what I found myself doing. I thought a lot about it and was torn when turning down other opportunities, but it’s like the trail just sucked me in. Like with the PCT, once the idea got in my brain, it stuck and wouldn’t go away. So, I’m following what feels right with my heart and my gut and plan to make an attempt at my second thru-hike, this time journeying along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT)! I’m so very excited and have been doing what I can in these months leading up to it to plan/prepare, figure out some logistics, and train a bit by hiking as much as I can 😎
Tuesday, April 12
That’s the date I’ve set to start at the New Mexico/Mexico border, only about a month away now! In true long-distance trail fashion, there’s a monument built there recognizing the southern terminus of the trail. Several weeks ago, when doing some work on a remote section of the Arizona National Scenic Trail, I climbed up an Alligator Juniper tree to get cell service and booked a shuttle that’ll bring me right to it. Then, it’s just walking, right?
My hope is to finish the trail in one season in some fashion. I’m going to set out northbound (nobo), but will be open to (and expect) skipping ahead if snow levels are a bit much in the high elevations of Colorado. Maybe I’ll end up doing an Oreo hike like I did on the PCT (bottom first, then top, and lastly the cream-filled center section) 🤷. It’s all unknown and something I’m sure future Stevie Wonder will figure out just fine.
Another exciting thing about this hike is that I hope to join forces again with my friends, super hikers, Cheer and Snickers!
Having completed the New Mexico and Colorado portions of the CDT last year, they hope to start hiking up near Steamboat Springs, Colorado going north to try and finish! So, my plan will be to join up with them at some point, likely skipping ahead to connect. Not sure exactly how the timing of things will play out yet, but I have some potential ideas forming in the back of my mind.
It’s coming up soon now. I’m nervous. I’m scared. But, I’m super pumped! More on all that in the next post.