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?