Home is Denver, Colorado and I love living here. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, bright sunshine, and clear blue skies. As I stood outside at the Denver Airport last Friday, enjoying the cool refreshing air on my face waiting to be picked up, I was buzzing with excitement for being home but at the same time, I had a nervous feeling in my stomach. The uncertainty of what lies ahead weighed heavily on me. I have been home for a little over a week and the adjustment has been more challenging than I thought it would be. Although I’m “home”, technically I don’t have a home because we sold our house in June before leaving on my trip. After sleeping in 38 different beds, in 23 Airbnb’s, five hotels (2 of which were because of missed flights), two lodges, two tented camps and a Maasai mud hut across 8 countries over five months, I was ready for a comfortable and familiar bed. I am so grateful that my home for now is the home of one my three sets of parents in Evergreen, Colorado just a bit west of Denver. Spending Christmas with my parents, my daughter and her amazing boyfriend were the best coming home present I could ask for.
Adjustments have come in many forms from time zones, altitude, driving in winter mountain weather, the realization that I don’t have a home or a job or any winter clothes, allowing my brain to slow down and adjust to not having to plan and travel from place to place, and the largest adjustment is bringing all my learnings about myself into practice through my interactions with other people. Dealing with all of these things on a less than full mental gas tank has resulted in a number of teary-eyed moments but I am being patient and kind with myself. I acknowledge that I need to take time to decompress and process, take time to reconnect with those close to me and let whatever needs to unfold, the space and mindset to happen.
A few days ago, I met a good friend for breakfast and didn’t want to stop hugging her when I first saw her. It was such a wonderful feeling to know that even after being apart for months, we could be right there for each other as if no time had passed. I had shared with her that it had been difficult for me to drive down to Denver a few days prior, and she drove up to Evergreen so we could spend time together. As we were talking, I felt a bit like I was in slow motion. I felt safe and loved, as I always have around her, but I could tell that I was much more in the present moment than prior conversations before I left. I could tell that I was processing the words with a different perspective because of my time spent in retrospection.
As I was driving back to my parents’ house, Evergreen Lake was filled with people ice skating and ice fishing. The white frozen lake was a beautiful contrast with the green pine trees surrounding the land around the lake and the bright blue sky. I watched the people moving about on the ice and the bustling activity, laughter, and commotion happening on top of the ice, it seemed like a separate world from what I imagined was taking place below. I knew the lake wasn’t frozen solid since the warm water sits much below the ice in the lake but I couldn’t help think, has the ice disrupted their lives? During these winter months, activity may slow a bit under the surface, but life goes on.
Right now, I feel a bit like this frozen lake and the water below. There’s a whole world of activity going on around me. I’m reconnecting with family and friends, engaging in physical activity that is challenging my mind and my body, sleeping well and eating good food. But there is a slowness, a disruption, a cognizant awareness that life is different. New perspectives. There is loss but also growth. Adaptation to this new environment will take time, an open mind, patience, and honesty. It also requires innocence to believe that whatever needs to unfold will do so and that I am safe letting people I love take care of me. The lake, whether frozen or not, offers a playground of activities, each unique and beautiful in their own way. All of this beauty reveals itself in time. I am thankful to be closing out 2018 surrounded by family that loves and supports me. They will anchor me to face 2019 with a grateful heart and excitement for all the new chapters that lie ahead.