I really, really needed this trip. I needed to get out of town, to put on my pack and walk into the woods. I needed to spend a few hours in the car, music up and windows down. I needed to be alone in the woods, to take myself to dinner, to drink new beers, to catch up with one of my oldest friends. I just needed to go.
After I wrote about a few recent hikes in Shenandoah National Park, Kate left a comment asking if I’d consider writing about my hiking gear, if I had any specific recommendations for someone interested in embarking on a forest scamper.
At first I giggled. I’m a native forest creature, yes, a girl raised by wolves who ran barefoot through the wildness nearly every day of my youth, but hiking still feels like a new hobby. I’m still acquiring stuff to make my hikes more comfortable, more enjoyable and that will allow me to go further and deeper into the wild. When I read her comment, I felt wholly unprepared to offer any sort of advice.
I don’t even want to talk about the crazy shit that’s been going down in Virginia this past week, so let’s focus on the good stuff, deal?
FRENCH PRESS COFFEE.
I’m not always a coffee drinker. I go through phases every few years, picking up a daily coffee habit, weaving it into my daily routine and then, just because, I’ll quit the shit and live a life mostly caffeine-free, minus an occasional cup of tea.
I’ve had an assortment of finance-related conversations with my lady friends in the last few months. We’ve talked about how much money we’re making, how much debt we’re carrying, how much we’re spending on life essentials, like rent, food and random Sephora purchases. We’ve talked about how we do and don’t budget, if and how we’re saving for retirement and I’ve found it refreshing, this open conversation on money.
As I looked around at my life’s recent additions this week I realized most of them are things I’ve resisted, things I’ve even sassed and snarked about.
“I don’t need that,” I’d say, scowling like almost always. Or I’d declare I just simply can’t, can’t wake up early enough to go to the gym before work, can’t keep additional things alive in my house. Can’t, with a side of don’t fucking wanna.
I didn’t originally plan to exclusively read books written by women in 2018, at least not in the beginning. In the beginning, I just started reading. Then it was February, I was dutifully logging my latest reads on Goodreads, as I’ve done for past decade or so, and I realized all seven of the books I’d read in 2018 were written by women.
It’s not a new year unless I use my blog to shame myself into accomplishing things this year, right?
GET MORE FIT.
Last year I said I wanted to run 1,000 miles and then, less than three weeks after setting that goal, I hurt myself. And that was it. I knew almost immediately there was no way I’d be able to hit 1,000 miles and I was right. Last year was a real shitty year for running and while I don’t even know how many miles I ran last year, I do know it’s much less than 1,000.
Last week was the week I almost cried at work, you guys. It was not great, not even a little bit, plus it’s the holiday season and you know how I feel about that. This week was better, a little less chaotic, a little less daunting, but damn if I’m not really looking forward to a little escape into the woods next week.
I’m the person who says, ok, I have friends coming to visit in two months, lets undertake a room renovation in the midst of a super stressful job situation while taking a demanding online class, raising three pets, training for a winter race, getting really into trivia at my favorite brewery on Thursday nights while also trying to feed myself real dinners, brush my teeth and wash my face before bed and keep my house from descending into absolute chaos.
“Especially this time of year,” is the tag I add to the end to my December sentences about the shit I don’t need. The stress, the bullshit, the drama. I don’t need it. Especially this time of year.
I listen to people complain about the families they’re going home to, about all the eccentricities inherent to their family dynamic and I smile, nod, apologize for things beyond my control, say, “Ugh, that sucks,” or, “Ugh, that must be tough.” But what I want to say is, “Must be nice. At least you have a place to go.”