It’s been 30 days since I turned 31, and it’s almost taken me that long to figure out what growing old will be for me. Everyone says, “In your 20s, you figure out what you want, and in your 30s, you go get it,” or, “Your 20s are a mess and then you turn 30 and everything changes.”
For me, I spent the first year of my 30s getting rid of things I don’t want and in the last year have said goodbye to more homes, jobs and personal items than I imagined. In terms of materials things, chalk this last year up to a loss, for sure. But as for my emotional awareness, I’ve been reading up on welcoming my emotions as teachers: “The longest journey that you will make in your life is from your head to your heart,” the author writes.
When I flew to North Carolina on Monday, the first official day of Christmas break from the high school, my sister picked me up from the Charlotte airport, after pinning it from Florida just in time for my arrival, and I drove us the two hours to Asheville in pouring rain. It’s rained pretty much ever since, except yesterday; we made a day at Grandfather Mountain, hiking hours down the most strenuous trail on the map.
I thought about my focus with one foot in front of the other – Pop’s hiking boots I wore were hooking up solid – and I took the lead, more confident than usual about the unknown journey in front of me.
Marry a mountain girl and you marry the whole mountain.