The secret to getting started on something is to get started. Going to new places via roads to nowhere helps feed the restlessness and helps you to understand—and eventually, you’ll have gone everywhere. Everywhere sounds nice. I’d like to be able to say I’ve been there, some day.
The hands of time move quickly, too quickly for most, myself included. Sometimes I need to take that pause and try and figure out the end goal before making the first move. The thing is, once you initiate that first move, you’re gone. You’re moving, you’ve gained the downhill momentum and it’s hard to stop. So yes, it’s good to have some sort of plan.
And sometimes, it’s necessary to go without.
And so, on Friday evening, I packed the old Honda with a few groceries and a brown dog and started driving west.
I forgot about adventure. Somehow, winter lulls me into a place of forgetting. I’d forgotten what magic spontaneity brings. Aly Nicklas reminded me when I went to devour curry and cookies with her in Boulder last week. I’d forgotten what it was like to follow that gut feeling—you know the one—it calls to you in the middle night and says: “Hey you. Come sleep under the stars in my skies tonight. Wake up in my dirt. Breathe my fresh air.”
I’d forgotten how to spend time with myself. I’ve been so busy trying to do a thousand and three things, trying to get myself ahead in the race, trying to maintain relationships and connect with every person but myself, that it got placed on the backburner.
I let the little things stress me much more than I’d like to admit. I’ve basically been one big ball of stress lately. Maybe it happened when I was trying to reintegrate back into society. I’d forgotten how to spend time with myself without being concerned with finances or being centered around a bright cell phone screen or climbing.
All I can say is, there is no phone app to finding honesty and humility and love. But I knew where I could find all of those things: the desert.
All I can say is that the best remedy for all of these things is the balance of both human connection and nature. I’m finally in a place where I can begin embracing both again. Nature nurtures us, but so does time well spent with a few select people who bring out the best in you. Both things help develop different parts of who you are—and I selfishly want to grow my relationships because I want to grow and develop.
If I listen carefully, learn the lessons, create the intentions, and set the goals—it will all be there in the end. I can have splitter sandstone cracks and walls of granite. I can play in the dirt, cry happy and sad tears, have long, deep talks, and still be able to spend time with myself. It will all hopefully end in inevitable uncontrollable laughter, unconditional love, and peace within myself and my heart.
Today, I’m going to ride the wave of uncertainty back to Colorado. It finally stopped feeling like I was “just passing through”. It felt like going home. Sometimes, you have to leave to come back. Sometimes, you need a little nudge (whether it’s from a place or a friend) to remind you:
In this lifetime, there will be road bumps. And then, we look to things to revive our souls: friendships, nature, goals and aspirations, human needs, necessities in life…we’re in a constant in and out state of tension. We’re constantly seeking. That’s good, because it means we’re learning something new. Not looking for answers, not questioning everything around me (including myself) means I’m merely existing—which will never be good enough for me.
Driving back from Salt Lake City, I thought about how something as simple as a long weekend in the desert could fill me in such a way. It’s not so much about the climbing or the traveling, and it isn’t something I can put into words. You’ll just have to go and see for yourself.