To the girl with the restless soul:

To the Girl with the Restless Soul:

To the brave one. The energetic and fun one. The girl who takes chances and seizes the day. The one who’s Instagram feed looks like a life full of gorgeously cropped adventures every single day…

My husband asked me last night if I will ever be happy with a slowed down life. He didn’t say it in a mean way, but he certainly wasn’t joking either. This has been a fear of mine for quite a while. Crippling anxiety in the mundane that I’ve dressed up and disguised as a life of climbing mountains and always seeking more. If my weekends aren’t filled with “the next thing,” and if I don’t have an escape to plan out during the week then I am consumed with uncertainty. A 31-year-old with a great job, a happy home, a loving husband and dogs, and yet still when things are quiet, I am buried by the weight of what my purpose is in this life. When that weight becomes too heavy, I look to the mountains. My brain is always working at such a high speed of thoughts, fears, plans, inadequacies.  I cannot shut it off but I can redirect it to a more beautiful distraction. Go. Go. Go. I feel fulfilled after a weekend outside. Driving hours and hours and escaping to the woods where nothing matters anymore. But that isn’t reality. And it certainly isn’t feasible every week for the rest of my life. So, what happens when I can’t escape? Why does a weekend at home with errands and cooking and quiet moment make my heart race, my hands shake and my anxious mind fill with physically painful panic? How do I find joy in the everyday? If I was fulfilled in my job or if I had a purpose that fueled me, would this still be a thing? Will I ever find what I am searching for externally or internally, or will this always be my narrative?

I have quite often been told I am so brave. What a compliment, right? I have moved across the country. Twice. I’ve hung off of cliffs, backpacked alone, hiked in the dead of night. And yet the thought of standing in a line at a crowded grocery store terrifies me to my bones. I can post a selfie online, beaming with happiness and wanting all of the world to see. But in public? My head is down and my main goal is to not be noticed by anyone. If I meet a stranger out on the trail the odds are, I won’t walk away until after an hour of chatting, engaging and exchanging hiking stories.  So why is it that I only feel like my true self when I am outside and constantly moving? And how do I get that version out into the real world?

I don’t have the answers. I truly am sitting here writing this with tears in my eyes. Maybe this seems like a first world problem to some, right? I mean how lucky am I to have this life? To have the privilege of using my thoughts for things like happiness as opposed to finding my next meal. I get it, I understand that and I feel all the gratitude in the world. And yet I am still struggling. And maybe you are to? Maybe this life is filled with too much these days. Too many options, too much comparison of other people’s happiness. You can feel gratitude and love for the life you have and still seek more. I know, because I do. And I hope if you are reading this and it resonated with you, that you will reach out and that you know you aren’t alone. You aren’t broken or selfish or ungrateful. You are just a little bit lost right now, but maybe we all are?


6 comments

  • All I can say is, “same”. I have a full life: two beautiful grown boys, an amazing and supportive boyfriend, and a job that pays me well enough I can take care of myself, my boys, and all my animals.
    But.
    But.
    I need to be planning, adventuring, giving myself to the outdoors in order to feel truly alive. I have no idea why. All I know is that walking into the woods always feels like coming home.

    Like you I wonder, “can I continue to do this every week?” My answer, for right now, is a big Hell Yes. For as long as my body will let me.

    I feel so lucky to be able to do what I do. I’ve worked hard for my financial freedom. I’ve worked hard to keep this 51 year old body in good shape so that I can continue to play hard outside. I’ve worked hard to feel comfortable to hike solo. I’ve worked hard to be exactkybrught here. And it feels mighty fine. So right now I’m going to love up every adventure with a big ‘ole smile on my face.

    TL/DR: same. We aren’t weird. We’re extraordinary. 🙂

    Kristi
  • This speaks volumes to me. 💔
    I’m happy to hear you have a supportive spouse. I walk this path alone, & its not an easy one. My comfort comes with biking, walking, hiking, kayaking, & looooong drives with the stereo cranked, or just sitting along the shore line. Lost & broken spirits trying to find purpose in this world. I hear you. 🙏

    Deb
  • Oh Brecka,

    This is a constant thought in my mind. If only I were ecstatic to go to work and have a purpose would I be most fulfilled— or would I? I like to believe that the more often we can emerge ourselves into the activities we are most passionate about then only good can come from it. I too, feel my absolute best when I am out in nature, utilizing my senses and feeling so free. Maybe we should figure out a way to just hike, camp and the like for our source of income? Sounds swell to me.

    Ciara
  • Thanks for sharing. I have many friends that have this ‘Go, Go, Go, ‘ mentality as well. I feel like I fall in the middle. I’m restless if I don’t have plans and love being active , but I also love my slower weekends and downtime. You are definitely not alone. Maybe you should look for a job that puts you outdoors most of the day/week as an adventure guide or something like that? That way you get to be fulfilled in a space where you thrive naturally. While, also at the same time it will make you possibly be ok with slower weekends since you would be spend so much of your week outdoors in a job? Thanks again for sharing.

    Mary
  • This really hit home for me. I’m an avid solo hiker and I get a lot of grief from family and friends because it’s all I do. First of all, they think it’s unsafe. Second, they don’t understand why that’s all I want to do. If I miss a weekend away I’m filled with guilt and disappointment. I need those escapes. But I don’t feel broken and I don’t feel lost. I like who I am, and I really like who I am outdoors. We’re not all made for standard city life, and I think that’s perfectly ok. Stay true to yourself. One of the best lessons I’ve learned lately is that even if my family & friends don’t understand me, there’s a big outdoor community out there who do. They cheer me on and they’re cheering you on to!

    Mariah

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