Friday, May 9, 2014

Where To Go From Here

In Alaska I felt alive, so much so I can't stop talking about it. But talking about it helps to make sense of where I am now, because lately things have been feeling less alive and more "angsty". I have been on a great winding road and have crash landed back in Oregon. I am now left with the task of unwinding my trail and figuring out who I am now, what is important to me, and how to get where I aim to go.

In Alaska life was simple. I was at the beginning of my youth and my future was stored somewhere a great distance away. I worked to save and when I wasn't working, I played. My relationships were intimate, vibrant and constant. There was consistent life in my house where the couch was always open for late night beers and conversation or hours of friends making music. It was also easily moved to the side for our Fourth of July or Lady Gaga dance party.

In Alaska my beliefs were daily challenged, nothing ever lay dormant. My life was full. I hiked, I ran, I climbed, I zipped, I boated with whales, I camped and I laughed every hour. Free time was seen as opportunity. A random encounter with a stranger quickly became the meeting of a close friend. Life was community and love encompassed everything we gave and received. At the close of each day I felt an emotional and physical exhaustion brought on by every day life, and sleep camp easy. Sometimes I would be woken all too soon to hike a mountain at midnight in order to catch a 3 a.m. sunrise, other times I wouldn't get to sleep till 3 in order to catch a glimpse of the midnight sun or northern lights. I read and I wrote and I laughed and I listened and the miniscule amount of music I could independently make was enough. Each moment was vibrant.

When I decided to not return to Alaska for another summer, but to "plant roots" and be stationary for a while, life became a challenge. Being a born dreamer I was quick to see the things I would miss out on and my disappointment blinded me from the opportunities at home. Honestly, the transition back into "city life" was hard. Relationships took extra work, the outdoors were hidden behind concrete and scooted farther away. I allowed myself to become bored and accept life as dull.

I became busy with tasks and commuting and working and slowly I closed up into myself, allowing the crowd to swallow me up. During this time I dreamed of the life I wanted. I dreamed of going to Iceland and hiking its mountains, swimming its pools, dancing with its people. I dreamed of friends popping by. I dreamed of spontaneous outings. But I didn't take action because now I was limited by time and money and location and occasionally health.

I have since procured a job in travel, moved to Seattle and back, and am now working two jobs for the summer, in order to save money for my impending trip to Iceland (and to pay off student loans, obviously). I have decorated my new apartment, ditched the bus for biking as often as possible, and am devouring multitudes of books at once. I am working hard at making every day intentional. I plan on writing more words, reading more books, hiking more mountains, listening to more music, laughing with more friends (at least with the lovely ones I already have), and delving further into more beliefs. It is invigorating to see dreams taking shape and to realize what I do have control over. I am working hard to make my life like it was in Alaska. I am working hard at making every day an adventure, because every moment should taste this sweet.

1 comment:

Chris West said...

I loved reading these words Deborah. Almost every time I am with friends who shared Alaska with us I bring it back up, hoping to rekindle what I knew at the time were going to be some of the best moments of my life. I love your LOVE for Alaska and when you write about it, I'm instantly back there. I've come to know it as a season, as your words express in this post. Like you, the way I bring those seasons in Alaska to my present life is to keep asking me, what made me so happy? It was that I was content in the present, neither thinking of what was to be or what was before. And when I do the same in my days here in Portland, they are always so much more rich. Thanks for sharing where you are with all of us.