Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Freedom to Be: The Many Faces of Me

My kind of freedom

My friend and I had a conversation the other day about people with a central path. I think you know the type: your friends and family members who know what they want and pursue the same steady track diligently, eyes on the prize, actualizing unwavering movement towards a goal they decided on ages ago. The kind of commitment and assurance it takes to follow through on law school, a doctorate, moving up within one company from entry level to management, etc. The level of commitment it takes to stay in a marriage for thirty years.....

I am baffled, amazed, impressed, and sometimes disturbed by these kind of "permanent" endeavors. There have been SO few things that I have felt this kind of drive and dedication towards. I do not have a central path. I have a life map of hundreds upon hundreds of tiny little offshoot trails, some dead ends, some loops that lead me back to the same place again and again... Some long winded roads that fill the page of my existence only to be erased and then etched again as my focus waxes and wanes.

I don't consider myself a person of impressive focus and drive. Often I hesitate on making decisions or commitments and when I finally do, I can be guilty of trying to go back and chose the other path. I want to have my cake and eat it too. My process is scattered; I struggle to commit wholeheartedly to things and also to stand strong in one place no matter what appears to dissuade me. I was relaying all this to my friend the other day, self-deprecating wit on overload, and she stopped me in my tracks.

"That's NOT true. You're that way about hiking. You're that way about Mac and always have been (my dog). You're that way about your Mom, and this person..."

Well shit....She's right...there are exceptions to the rule... hiking is probably the most obvious one. I've said this before, but it bears repeating, it is the longest standing hobby I have ever had. I've only been hiking for about three, three and a half years, mind you!- but that is the LONGEST AMOUNT OF TIME I have ever spent doing one thing consistently and genuinely enjoying it. As a kid I picked up and subsequently dropped hobbies sooo often that my mom actually stopped supporting me signing up for new classes or after-school activities. She knew how quickly I'd tire of it after she bought the supplies needed and was pretty much over it by the time I was 13. I've started and stopped many career paths and school/training programs over the years.

Yet I have no problem doing the most to make a hike happen. I will get up at 4 or 5am on my day off, sacrifice sleep, pay to have my dog taken care of while I'm gone, drive anyone and everyone who wants to join, read trip reports all week, print directions, pack snacks the night before, check weather conditions, keep up on car repairs, say no to friends I want to see on weekends who wont hike, drive long miles on gravel roads or through pot hole fields, flare injuries, etc. Just to hike. Never ever worried about what it takes to get there as long as I can get there.

Hiking to Goat Lake

I want to create the space and potential for this level of intense devotion and pure commitment in other areas of my life. I want to start by setting achievable goals that I can use as leverage against my old ideas about myself and who I am/what I am capable of following through on. NOT PLANS, just goals, no time limit or set dates needed.

We all need to remember that our ideas and image of ourselves CAN and SHOULD change. This does not mean we are inauthentic or confused or even bipolar! It means we accept and glorify the reality of things constantly changing and that we run with this to grow and transform ourselves. That we can be a lot of different people in a single lifetime, which is amazing to think about....

It's cool for others to be able to see and accept this in us as well, maybe even celebrate it rather than being scared and put off by our ongoing and often non-linear evolution. These are the ones we need in our corner: ready to support each new passion project we develop, or simply each version of us.

Being single has one huge perk that I love more and more every day: I have the time, energy, and freedom to explore new friendships. I have met sooo many people lately which is WONDERFUL. The photos in this blog are from a hike I did on Saturday with my buddy Juan and three people I had never met in person before, mostly whom I knew from Instagram. We had such a great day hiking to Goat Lake!

I'm building a dope, eclectic tribe around me: new friends who see me for who I am now, free of comparison or even resentment for my changes, mixed with golden friendships from the past that are still meaningful, relevant, and supportive all these years later. Looking around my life, it's like a living collage of all the Me's I have ever been and could ever be. I feel so free!

Cutie Pie Esra

The hike to Goat Lake

Fuji gettin' it in

Oh hey bud!

Bushwhacked our way around the lake

Goat Lake


Fuji and CJ

Far end of the lake

The God Particle 

Fall colors abound

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