I am nearing the end of my longest hike to date. The summit remains just miles away as I step into the final months on the trail. I have scars from the long nights where storms came unexpectedly, leaving me to piece myself back together. I have witnessed sunrises and sunsets, and met people I now consider family. This four year hike has been a challenge. I took the wrong path a few times, I started over, chose new people to climb with, experienced loss and deep, beautiful love. My body and mind is tired, but also very proud. In the past few weeks, as I near the end of my senior fall, and look back on my time in college, I feel a great pride on myself. This trail, although sometimes rocky and unstable, has pushed me to grow into a woman that I am so proud to embody.
I identify as a person who loves change. I don’t like sitting still, I love having multiple groups of people and bouncing between different dynamics. I feel most fulfilled when my feet aren’t in the same place for too long. So as I look over the cliff that is graduation, I am almost shocked that I feel so weary. And so, I ask myself, what is in my pack that can help me with this new journey ahead, how am I prepared for this new trek? I am entering a new stage, and I will never be the same from the summits I have seen during this stage of my journey.
- My guiding light, my sense of direction, the human beings I have the pleasure of looking up to serve as my flashlight as I know this new trail will have tricky turns. I have newly recognized the power of having friends that are older than me. Intentionally making time for these conversations with my older friends has gifted me with a perspective that is outside of my usual social cohort of other individuals who are struggling just as much with this new trek we are about to pack for. And on the days where my fears and anxieties of the future feel unmanageable I am tapping into those relationships more and more, and taking distance from the contrary.
- Intentionally filling silence. Certain podcast have served as trekking poles for me durning this unknown time before I summit. Specifically, The Psychology of your 20’s, She Explores by Ravel Media, Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain and Skinny Dipping with Kela Rose. All of these beautiful voices are available on Spotify (and I am sure other platforms as well). If I am in the car, running, or tidying my room, I often intentionally tune into one of these podcasts to fill the space.
- Conversations with individuals who hold similar passions. This aspect is something that I think we all search for, wether we are embarking on a significant life change or not. But this detail has recently been very inspirational to me, similar to how a burger or beer feels after a particularly strenuous day in the woods. These conversations have filled my bucket in a way that makes me excited for the next trail. When I engage with people who are interested in similar goals or trajectories my anxieties can morph into excitement about what is to come.