How do you begin to talk about a year where so many people have been hurt by a global pandemic? There’s no possible way to encompass all the feelings. I come from such a place of privilege — my health, my family, and my livelihood have remained unscathed thus far.
So, I will begin by saying that this year has been so, so, so hard. It’s been hard at times to even begin to find the words to attempt to be inspirational or transparent. There have been times of incredible darkness and seemingly fleeting moments of unparalleled light. My heart goes out to those who are hurting, working tirelessly, and getting through all the trials and tribulations that have occurred since March. From my place of privilege, I thank those who don’t have the same.
So… for today, I simply want to share some of the light.
As many of you may or may not know, I’m a workaholic. I’m teaching collegiate speech classes, spending evenings creating and scheduling content as a social media specialist, modeling and creating content for a boutique, and working as a freelancer at a place I hope to work for in the future…. and that’s just the things that pay me. I am getting my M.A. and create content online for fun.
This semester has been the toughest semester I’ve faced in my 6 years…. and I’ve had some pretty tough semesters. After a semester of watching others around my age dismiss the urgency of masking up and staying home, my roommate and I were exhausted, frustrated, and tired of being stagnant.
I saw a TikTok video about a cool train in Southern Colorado. I sent it to her with a message that said “let’s do this” …… which led to several conversations, train tickets, a hotel room, a full tank of gas, and my Subaru hitting the road to Colorado.
(All along the way, we stayed safe– masks, clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, and social distancing.)
Now, as I reflect back on our 2 days on the road and 5 full days in Colorado, I smile ear to ear.
I could go through all the details… where we stayed, what we ate, what we did. Instead, however, I want to share a singular moment with you.
We drove to the trailhead for the Royal Gorge trails. It had snowed lightly the night before, so I was all nerves as my roommate drove up the mountain. I had bought a hat and a sweatshirt at the local Walmart two nights prior… I had expected the weather to be in the 60’s like it had been the week before. (I was wrong.) I wore two layers of leggings and my warm parka I had bought 2 months ago and worn only a couple of times. I was grateful that I packed my snow boots “just in case.”
All along the way, the moment could have not happened at all. I could have said that I didn’t want to drive up the mountain in the snow or hike in it. I could have not purchased or brought warmer clothing. I could have only had my sneakers. I could have said “no” out of anxiety, fear, annoyance, or unpreparedness. It’s happened before.
But instead, it aligned. The snow coated everything beautifully. Tominee was with me along the way and we jammed to our playlist. I was excited about the adventure. I wore comfortable clothing. My boots kept my feet warm and dry. The sun shined down on my face that I had coated in SPF. The wind was nonexistent. The day, quite simply, was perfect.
As we hiked, it was easy to see that the mountains were beautiful. But there was a moment when I sat by myself at the edge of the gorge, looking down and all around. When my mind gets to be this still and peaceful, it’s magic how the thoughts fill my mind.
I am so, so small.
Now, let me tell you… this isn’t my everyday thought as a nearly 6ft tall curvy woman.
However, in that moment, I just couldn’t help but feeling overwhelmed by the sensation of being so small in such a beautiful, gigantic world. There are so many places to explore, so many adventures to have, so much air to breathe, so much music to hear and food to taste and humans to hug. There is so, so, so much good. This year and the hardships faced are just one piece of the huge puzzle of human existence. I choose to believe that.
In that moment, reflecting on being so small in this big beautiful world…. the sun was shining on my face and I felt like I was glowing from the inside out for the first time in a really long time. It was a moment where I didn’t want to blink and miss a single fragment of a second. A moment where no camera could capture a photo or video that did it justice. A moment that felt so amazingly vast that words couldn’t begin to bridge the chasm it left in my memory.
The only word that could even attempt to gather how I was feeling was alive.
I couldn’t stop smiling.
So, again, I ask the question of how do you talk about a year where so many people have been hurt by a global pandemic? There’s no possible way to encompass all the feelings.
Truthfully, though, I can’t even find adequate words to describe the amazing experience that was this one singular sunny morning in Cañon City, Colorado…
My biggest hope, however, is that as we close out this shitstorm of a year, you remind yourself that while there may not have been weeks or months of this type of mountaintop feelings… you should be able to find at least one moment.
What’s a moment that reminds you how great it feels to be alive?
Hold on to it.
Create more of those moments.
Live in the moment.
Be grateful for every breath you take.
Take inventory of your dreams.
And remember to start living them.