Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Life Goes On

There have been so many things to write about lately. Many of them aren't appropriate fodder for a family-oriented blog, so they'll be left by the wayside. I used to have another blog where I published all the things that weren't appropriate for public consumption, but I long ago forgot the URL and the password. Too bad. It might have been well-used in the past couple of months.
Truth is, turning 40...almost 18 months ago, now...highlighted the fact that I'm not altogether happy with where I am these days. When I was a little girl, my favorite game was to play that I was lost in the woods and had to find ways to survive on my own. My family never camped. Perhaps it made this fantasy all that much more exciting. At least my dad took us hiking.

In college, I discovered there was a major called "Wildlife Biology". I was so excited, I called my mom and told her I'd figured out just what I wanted to be. She scoffed. "What are you going to do with that?" she said. I probably would have loved being a wildlife biologist, even if it meant never living in the Bay Area again and never making a whole lot of money. Maybe the politics of it all would have found me jaded and unhappy. Hard to know.

Then I left my college sweetheart to become an outdoorsy girl with an outdoorsy guy. He was outdoorsy, but didn't want the other things I wanted...marriage and a family. It took me far too long to come to grips with that.

Somewhere along the line, I lost my outdoorsy self entirely. And by the time I turned 40...a time when the brevity of life starts to weigh on some of us...I realized I had lost a huge part of myself to marriage and children and suburban housewifeness. I got ancy and restless.

Finally, I took a little break from my mid-life existential crisis and went out to find myself in the wilderness again, booking myself with a group of "solo travelers" on a sea-kayaking trip to Wyoming and leaving family behind for a week.

I chose this trip because it went somewhere I wanted to go and left at a time when I thought I could get away, nothing more meaningful than that. The idea of going with other people who were traveling solo also appealed since I wouldn't be faced with happy couples and other peoples' children. Instead, what I found, were a bunch of folks a lot like me. They were mostly women grappling with changes in their lives, adventurous and out for a therapeutically fun time.
It could not have been more beautiful. It was just the right amount of challenge and the company was great. I miss a lot of the folks I traveled with, now that I'm home. I miss them all, in fact.

Our three guides were in their early 20s and apparently having the time of their lives guiding kayak trips in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. I can't say I got to know any of them super duper well, but I can tell you how grateful I am to these three.

I'm not sure how much they can understand what they're doing for so many of the folks they take out into the backcountry. For me, I got a tiny little piece of myself back, even if it was just for a week.

I took advantage of every bit of this adventure I could come by, including a little "cliff jumping" expedition than only a few folks joined in on. Me, taking a leap. Who woulda thunk? My gosh, that water was cold! Fortunately, the 300,000 mosquitoes on the shore provided ample motivation to take the plunge.

I'm not sure this trip could have been a whole lot better...at least not for someone in my situation.

My gosh, I've missed me!

No comments: