What I Lost and What I Found

life is a question of choice

I lost my way.

Rather, I spent years having the quarter-life crisis that many people in their twenties have. I married young, moved away from my family, tried to plan everything, and then panicked when I ended up with a life that didn’t match the picture in my head.

I’m better now. I have a stronger sense of who I am, but now I recognize that life, and my sense of self, is fluid. You cannot plan everything.

Life is a series of choices.

I chose to get married.

I chose to move away.

I chose jobs that weren’t the best fits.

I chose to leave those jobs.

I chose to stay married.

I chose to start grad school.

I chose to start, maintain, or end friendships.

I can always choose something different. I’ve learned, however, that it is easier to choose wisely instead of choosing to move in the completely opposite direction.

Water, water everywhere

I grew up going to first to Clarks Hill Lake and then Lake Weiss. I think I enjoyed going, but never really liked the slimy feel of the water on my face or the muddiness that enveloped me.

Last weekend, CorporateMonkey and I took an introductory kayaking class through Valley Mill Kayak School. Within the first five minutes of getting in the water, I loved it.

We learned how to do a wet exit, basic paddling technique, how to do a T rescue, and finally how to enter an eddy. We were exhausted after the four-hour class and my shoulders hurt from carrying the kayak from the trailer to the river input and back.

Since I’m more a city-girl than a country-girl, I’ve spent time this week trying to figure out why I’m so in love with this new activity. Perhaps I feel more in control sitting a boat than just swimming in a lake. Perhaps I appreciate being away from (but still so close to)  the concrete jungle that is DC. I like figuring out how else I can push my body and do things that I would have shied away from a few years ago. All of these things and more inspired me to sign up for the practice session next Saturday and the second class on Sunday, where I’ll learn how to roll the kayak.

If I could see into the future with my crystal ball…

I spend too much time looking backwards. I shouldn’t have done X; life would be easier now if I had done Y. I ran across a great quote yesterday from Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop. She said “You can’t change the world from the rear-view mirror.” She’s right, but it is certainly easier (and safer) to wallow in the past.

I hate making public proclamations because I feel like a failure if I don’t live up to the terms I’ve laid out. Sharing what I hope my life will be like in 10 years scares me too. That being said, here goes…

In 10 years, I want to be living in DC proper with our pet(s) and two adorable children. I want our life to be full of love and adventure. I want our children to be fearless and kind. I want to work from home and be able to pursue the activities (museum going, kayaking, bicycling, running) I love at full tilt without having to worry about reporting to THE MAN. I want us to take trips and see the world.

I don’t know how much of this will happen. DC is an expensive place to live and while husband and I live comfortably now, we don’t work in jobs that will pay us dramatically more money year over year.

We’ll see how things shake down. The big things are love, adventure, fearlessness, and kindness.