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Embracing Change

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

One year ago today, my life changed. My path shifted underneath my feet.

Sunday March 15, 2020 was the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic . The week prior, things started getting weird. Whispers of businesses being forced to close, grocery stores emptying, pantries filling up.

That morning I drove to the mountains with some friends to hike and was shocked to see the lifeless ski resorts, the lifts unmoving, and the roads empty. We wondered if this was all just a big over reaction. The next day my boss called to let me know we would be closing for two weeks, just as many other businesses had chosen to do. I felt a little excited, even with the confusion and panic. Two weeks off with nowhere to go? Nothing to do? I got to work. I dragged out the carpet steamer, rearranged my closet and prepared the garden for spring. Later that week, the Colorado governor announced stay at home orders extending through the end of April. My two week "vacation" turned into a minimum of six weeks.

I've never been out of work. I graduated high school in June 2005, started beauty school in July, took two weeks off after finishing and entered the workforce. Even when relocating out of state (twice), I was working within two weeks of moving.

I needed a plan and a routine. I had to find some purpose and meaning in this strange experience, otherwise I'd wind up sitting on the couch lost in the news cycle. I planned a healthy menu (now that I had plenty of time to cook), wrote out my new home workout routine, and downloaded audio books to listen to while walking miles with the dogs. The first book I listened to was "Untamed" by Glennon Doyle. If you haven't read it, you're missing out. That book was everything I needed to hear, exactly when I needed to hear it.

We can make our own normal. We can throw away all the rules and write our own. We can build our lives from the inside out. We can stop asking what the world wants from us and instead ask ourselves what we want for our world. We can stop looking at what's in front of us long enough to discover what's inside us. We can remember and unleash the life-changing, relationship-changing, world changing power of our own imagination. It might take us a lifetime. Luckily a lifetime is exactly how long we have. Let's conjure up from the depths of our souls: the truest, most beautiful lives we can imagine.

-Glennon Doyle

In mid-April, my husband made an offhand comment: "If you want a career change, I support you." I had never considered leaving my industry, and in the midst of a world-wide pandemic, the timing seemed especially terrible. But a seed was planted and I found myself researching different fields. If I were to make a move, where would I want to go? I came across a program at a local community college for outdoor recreation and leadership. I've always loved hiking and playing outside, and over the years numerous friends have offered the suggestion that my calling is in nature. I enrolled in the fall semester of the program.

May 9th- seven weeks later- the stay at home order was lifted and I went back to work. With Covid restrictions limiting operations, I only worked Thursday-Saturday, so I spent the summer hiking, imagining what my future self might do with a certificate in outdoor recreation and leadership.

Overnight, the pandemic changed my perspective. I stopped worrying about whether I was working enough, or the right hours to accommodate all of my clients. I stopped telling myself the story that if I took a long vacation, or a Saturday off that my business would fail. I stopped thinking that my job created my worth or identity.

In July, I took ten days off for a solo backpacking trip- something I never would have made time for pre-pandemic. Part of the loop followed the Colorado Trail, a 567 mile trail from Denver to Durango. I met several thru hikers on the trail and stopped to chat with as many as I could. After the trip, before heading back to Denver, I spent my last afternoon on the patio of the Silverton General Store, basking in my accomplishment. Apparently that store is a popular resupply spot for CT thru hikers, and the patio was littered with smelly backpackers rearranging gear and swapping stories from the backcountry. I was fascinated. I've always loved the idea of completing a thru hike, but never contemplated taking a month off to disappear into the wilderness. With my new-found pandemic perspective though, I made the decision then and there to complete the Colorado Trail summer 2021.

Somewhere around the time I began "forest school"- a designation a dear friend of mine invented, the notion of life coaching made its way into my field of vision. I didn't know how I would put it all together, but the combination of life coaching and outdoor leadership felt right. The outdoors has been a space for my evolution and expansion and I want to help womxn feel empowered in every way possible to enjoy and connect with themselves and the wild.

So here I am, three weeks away from earning my life coaching certificate, six weeks away from leaving a career I've had since I was 18, and four months out from starting the Colorado Trail.

I'm not having a life crisis, I'm not escaping reality. I'm choosing to live the truest, most beautiful life I can imagine.

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