Turning Thirty and My Connection to “Wild”
How I Hoped to Hike Part of the Pacific Crest Trail:
So, here’s the thing on this past Monday (June 8th) I turned thirty, the big 3-0-, and have officially left my current decade the twenties behind. Also, as with many other things in life this year… turning 30 wasn’t as I expected it to be, much due to the fact that we are unable to travel during this time and I had this grand idea of how I would have liked to celebrate making it through my first decade as an adult and that was a trip to the the Pacific Crest Trail. *For those unaware or who have yet to discover the inspiration Wild, Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail I highly recommend you look it up and give it a read, as it’s what inspired most of my twenties and probably be one of those books that continues to inspire me throughout life.*
Anyways, I had it all laid out in my mind at how awesome it would be for me to mark this milestone birthday hiking in Cheryl Strayed’s footsteps across the Pacific Crest Trail (or at least part of it). I pictured myself at the beginning of the Portland hike section, or at the Bridge of the Gods where Cheryl ended up at the end of her hike, looking back on my life, remembering one of the many lines that stuck out to me in that book that reads “To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.”~ Cherly Strayed. I wanted that exact moment for myself to feel empowered and to help set myself off in a new direction in this new decade, but most importantly I wanted to feel her energy and connection to that place that’s always been an inspiration to me in my own life.
Now, it’s not to say that in later years I’m to planning to go back there or that my experience would have been exactly like hers, but it sure would have been meaningful to hike in her footsteps as I would have began to embark on my 30th year in a place that has it’s own meaning and significance. Now as I’ve continued to write this post a new insight has come, and that’s there’s another connection emerging in this time that I hadn’t realized between our experiences, and that’s dealing with the unexpected. Cheryl had to face a major unexpected life event with the loss of her mother, and while mine doesn’t quite fair in the comparison to that sort of loss, in ways it has felt like a loss. A loss or rather postponing of plans for the time being, and again in a way that’s beyond one’s control.
So I ask myself “What Would Cheryl Strayed Do?” or Moreover, what did she do?
While, after mulling it over a while in her head she decided to pick herself up and hike that darn trail, unexperienced, barely a wilderness hiker and wildly unprepared she packed up and went for it. Facing obstacles along the way, processing her own experiences, making the best of what she had on her back and carving out her place in the wilderness. It’s very much similar to what I am experiencing and doing not just now but throughout my own adulthood as new circumstances come up, I am doing my best to process my experiences, constantly trying to carve out my own space in this world and navigate a new “wilderness-like” experience as I set myself off not just in a new decade, but direction. So, maybe just maybe, while it seems that Cheryl Strayed, the Pacific Crest Trail and I are spending this year apart; I am closer to her inspiration than I had realized before in that all along I’ve been making my way through the wilderness of my life, carving my own path and overcoming my own type of obstacles as I went along, all without even realizing it.
Stay Wild and Brave Friends, Yours Terrifically Thirty