I've mentioned before that I used to be a backpacker. I've spent summers in New Mexico and lots of weekends year-round all over the Appalachians. It was a time in my life where I've never felt so free, so strong, and so in-tune with who I am as a person. It's amazing what you learn about yourself when you are pushed down to your bare bones, and I've been reflecting on that a lot lately. Every day of my trip, I wrote in a journal, and I've been reading a lot of my old journals lately. On the top of every new day in my trail journal, it says "Nothing is worth more than this day". The journal is full of quotations I picked up from the people I hiked with, because we clung to these little sayings to get us from one place to another, from one challenge and up and over the next. There was another one that one of the rangers I hiked with used to write on letters to us -- "I will be there in the morning, remember who you are".
I really liked this one, because I feel like I've spent such a large part of my life trying to carve something out for myself. I know I have a tendency to isolate people or to isolate myself. My personality is intense, to say the least. But it was always refreshing to remember that in life, the people who actually matter will still be there in the morning, and they don't care who you are -- they love you in spite of yourself and your best efforts to sabotage all of your own hard work.
Life abroad hasn't really worked out that way for me, though -- this has always been a new kind of survival mode. I've found that relationships with mountains can be abusive yet forgiving in the end but something you really have to work on. People don't always embrace the quality of forgiveness quite as easily. Countries and cultures are the same. They don't have to love you for all of your flaws if they don't want to or try to be understanding -- they can just drop you and be done with you. I've seen a lot of friendships come and go in my time here, for whatever reason. I learned how to sort through the people I surround myself with so that I keep the ones I want to, and release the ones bringing bad vibes my way.
I'm in a strange place right now with a number of new and old friendships. I have more of a social life at the moment since I was in college, because my colleagues seem to genuinely like spending time with each other (either that or they've really got nothing better to do with themselves on a Friday night!) and despite my best efforts to be socially awkward and bastardizing their language, they keep inviting me out. I'm in the awkward position of trying to be just the right mix of myself and reserved (which isn't me at all, I have to really fight for this) but that seems to be how the French do it. You sit politely, listening. Then a few weeks later maybe you comment. Then a few months later you might be the one making the joke or entertaining the table with a story. I have to remember that I'm not there yet with most of these people, and to walk before I run. They don't have to accept me with all of my crazy for any particular reason, so I have to remind myself to slowly release the crazy over time, and by then the friendships will be forged and my intensity should seem less obvious.
But why am I talking about that? Because while the boys are in the South of France all week this week, I've been invited to do a number of things myself. Although there are a lot of changes happening for us right now, I'm hoping that by keeping busy I'll make it through to the other side more myself than I've been in awhile. Our little family is experiencing some turmoil, and in the process it's easy to lose sight of yourself, of your goals, and what makes you happy in life. I'm hoping to find some answers to a lot of the questions I've been asking myself. I have to remember who I am, and let those that will still be there for me in the morning. And even though it's been raining for weeks and my house is still cold, when those mornings do come (as they seem to every day), I need to remind myself to get up and live it the best I can, because in truth there really is nothing worth more than this day.