It took literally getting hit by a small boulder in my left leg to check back into the “real” world mentally. You know, the one where people live indoors and are accustomed to interacting in spaces with more than two other people in them. The amount of time I had spent on my own in the outdoors allowed me to nearly escape the pandemic entirely. The hiking buff that covered my face reverted to its intended summer use as a shield between my mouth and nature’s most annoying flying insects (sorry entomologists). However, a recent hike with a friend helped knocked me back to reality.
The summer started with a clean slate. The season had become the opportunity I initially wanted to have before getting laid off, and in reflection, it was just deferred to the right time. This summer, I traveled across the country —again. I unintentionally hiked more than 100 miles to the tallest peaks in Southern California, and I worked on some pretty exciting projects. I looked through the notebook I had been recording daily project-related notes in, since mid-March, and realized I done quite a bit of work, but it didn’t feel like that this summer.
The whole “not having to work a day in your life if you enjoy what you are doing” is somewhat misleading. Most people have to work whether you’re in a corporate office or juggling life and family as a stay at home parent. There are still difficult obstacles to overcome and problems to face. However, if you are genuinely passionate about what you do, then you don’t mind putting in the work to make something amazing. I recognized this when I was forced to take a step back from my longer hikes and take a more in-depth look into my “indoor” talents and hobbies.
The small boulder that would leave the biggest bruise I’ve ever seen on my leg, and the rattlesnake that I nearly stepped on when attempting to escape the hot summer heat this past week was a polite wake-up call for better balance. I didn’t have to give up hiking and the outdoors, but practically living outside on my own for an extended amount of time also needed to come to an end. As the season begins to change and new projects and responsibilities arise, hiking and the outdoors will get pushed back to more regular hours and will include more social distancing with friends.
I had fun living wildly in the woods on my own, but it also helps to occasionally be inside and work with a team of like-minded people to do all things that I want to do. So, here’s to better balance moving forward, and a grateful look back on a dreamy summer. I’m excited to see what’s in store for us as autumn rolls onto the scene.
Here’s my favorite highlight from this wild summer.