Viewing entries tagged
life lessons

I Don't Hate Hiking: A Lesson Learned On the Oregon Trails

indian beach

“I hate hiking!” is a story I’ve been telling myself for roughly 33 years. It was a stubborn, silly thing to claim, especially since — until this weekend — I’d never actually hiked.

What I really meant is that hiking makes me uncomfortable. It is a new experience. It’s something I’m not skilled at. It challenges me. It pushes me beyond my comfort zone. It falls outside my wheelhouse.

Last week, I spent several days trudging my way (literally) over the river and through the woods of Oregon. At first, an obstinate little voice inside my head was urging me to dig my heels in, refuse to go on and hitch a ride back to civilization. (Or at least craft a series of snarky Tweets to send once I returned to a reliable wifi signal.) Somewhere around the five-mile marker it occurred to me that by hunkering down in my head and focusing my energy on all the comforts I was missing, I was actually missing out on the amazing things right in front of me. As soon as I hit my internal mute button, I began to discover that I kind of love hiking.

Sure, I had to stop and wheeze-it-out at various points. My body was sore in places I didn’t know it was possible to hurt. I had to use an outhouse. But that was all okay, because there, in the middle of nowhere, with no cell phone signal and just about every modern convenience stripped away, I found myself living fully present in the moment. And that is a really, really good feeling. 

I realize I may never relish having my feet restricted to “real shoes.” I may never enjoy physical exertion in sweltering 90-degree heat. I’m definitely never going to love an outhouse. But I really liked the version of myself I met at the top of the hill, the base of the falls and the end of the path.

There’s no doubt it’s easier to write something off completely than it is to try and struggle, flail and fail. But a comfortable life is a life with blinders on. Sure, you can get ahead, but you’ll miss out on the things that matter most. When we settle for comfortable, we settle…period. We end up depriving ourselves of not only experiences, but of becoming the best version of who we are.

A wise person once told me if it doesn't scare you, it doesn't grow you. Get cranky. Get angry. Get frustrated. Work up a sweat. Work up worries and doubt. Then let go of that balloon of uselessness. You don’t have to take the world at someone else’s pace. You just have to put one foot in front of the other until you find your stride… then get on with the getting on.

Say yes more than you say no. You never know. It may take you someplace more beautiful than you ever imagined.




The 33-Year List

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 11.15.59 PM Dear Universe,

On this, the eve of my 33rd birthday, I wanted to wish us both a happy anniversary. We've been together a long time, and have come a long way since the days of baby bottles and the summer of '81. Our anniversary poses a challenge, however. What to get the galaxy that has everything? I briefly considered a box of chocolates, but realized you've already got Mars and the Milky Way. And diamonds were out since you've got plenty of stars. So, in the end, I opted for this: a list of life lessons derived from some of our greatest hits

Universe, I wouldn't be here without you. And that's saying a lot, because here is nothing short of incredible. Thanks for the memories. Here's to you, Universe. To me. To us. To infinity and beyond! (Or a least the next 33 years...)

Yours, Amy

33 Things I Learned in 33 Years as a Dot in the Universe

  1. Nobody knows anything at 18. You don’t have to have the entire world figured out before you can legally rent a car.
  2. There’s a great big world out there. Allow it to sweep you off your feet, whisk you away and drive you out of your mind. You'll be glad you did.
  3. All good things begin with some form of a "yes," Say yes more than you say no. Then hold on.
  4. Champagne, desserts and massages need not be reserved for special occasions. Treat yourself.
  5. Hang onto the precious few who force you out after a heartbreak, help you move in August and pick you up from the airport at midnight without complaint. They’re the real deal.
  6. Live alone at least once.
  7. Stop. Waiting. Around. There is no right moment. There is no more convenient time. There is only now. Take the risk. Take the trip. Make the call. Spin a globe, put your finger down and go.
  8. Life is never going to hand you what you want, but you may be surprised how many people are willing to help when you muster the courage to ask for it.
  9. Learn when to go with the flow and when to take a stand. There’s a time and a place for both. You will find that very little falls in the grey area in between.
  10. Look up. Everything you could ever want or need is right here, right now. Look up from the screen. Put down the phone. Refuse to live your life in a state of DVR.
  11. Single is much more fun than anyone ever admits, so go ahead and enjoy it. Eat cereal for dinner. Revel in pantlessness. Marathon Netflix. Someday you'll miss it just a little bit.
  12. Get to know your family. Ask them questions. Soak up the stories. Write down the recipes. No matter how many years you have together, you’ll wish you’d had more. When it comes to our people, there's no such thing as "enough." Make time you can while you can.
  13. You’re weird and wonderful. Accept it. All the best people are.
  14. Make mistakes. Learn from them. All the best people did.
  15. Creativity favors the shoeless, and genius will invariably strike while you're in the bathtub. Free your feet, free your mind and everything else will follow.
  16. Heartbreak happens. Sometimes it will be your fault. Sometimes it will not. Either way, it will shape you. Be kind. Be grateful.
  17. Worry is a lead balloon. 99.9999% of the worrying you do in your lifetime will be for naught. So just stop. Lighten your load. Release the balloon.
  18. Become a citizen of the world. Try on a new zip code. Go forth. It's the only way you'll ever fully appreciate the roads that lead home.
  19. By 30, you'll find yourself going out less and going to bed earlier. By 31, you'll find yourself liking it.
  20. Real mail, old books, squeezed lemonade. For some things, there's just no substitute.
  21. When you meet someone who finds you beautiful in fake pants and a messy bun…put a ring on it.
  22. Dancing is meant to happen with free spirits, reckless abandon and a few drinks in the system. Never -- ever -- miss a chance to throw your arms up to "Shout" at a wedding reception.
  23. God. Whatever you call Him, wherever you find Him...get to know Him.
  24. Karaoke is the best worst idea. When it doubt, walk 500 miles. (Then walk 500 more.)
  25. Say what you think. Love who you love. Drink what you like. Don't be a jerk.
  26. Scatter love, prayers and gratitude wherever you wander in this world.
  27. Whatever the plan, plan for nothing to go according to plan. That's the secret fun of it.
  28. Sprinkles and sparkles are seeds of joy and fertilizer for the happy soul.  No matter what anyone says, you’re never too old for either one.
  29. Make no apologies for the way you feel or the naps you take.
  30. "One-size-fits-all" only works for rain ponchos and "normal" is just a washing machine setting. Defy words. Defy labels. Commit to live up the spirit inside you. Become a person who makes the ghosts of your ancestors cheer.
  31. Get lost. (And enjoy my jacket, which you stole from me.)
  32. When you find yourself in a certain kind of rare and special moment (and you will) -- be still. Allow the tidal wave to overwhelm you and carry you out. Let it break your heart then make you whole again. Take a breath and close your eyes. There, in the golden joy of simply being alive and part of it all, you'll see more clearly than you ever have and all will be revealed. When you find yourself back on shore, you'll swear it can't possibly get any better than this. And it won’t. And it will.
  33. One day you'll see. Promise you'll tell me all about it.