Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Happy 9th Re-Birthday to Me!

Happy 9th Re-Birthday to Me! 

Nine years ago today, I closed the door on the life that I was living. I wasn't certain where my path would lead, but I trusted that by closing the door, another would open. Little did I know that closing that single door would lead to the opening of not just one door, but door-after-door-after-door. Each of those doors led to unexpected places far more wondrous than I could have ever imagined.

My re-birthday finds me reflecting on this past year:

  • I finished my van build, nearly six months after acquiring the van.
  • I took my first road trip to Chicago in the early spring to visit my family.
  • I felt the pandemic-laden world open up once again upon receiving my second Moderna vaccination in mid-April.
  • I designed six trips for Discovery Bicycle Tours: Taste of Southern California, Michigan Lakes & Trails, two flavors of the Vermont Gravel Traverse, Olympics to Cascades Adventure, and Woodstock Multisport.
  • I was interviewed for the Tiny House Life podcast about the intersection between tiny living and bicycle touring.
  • I scouted the Olympics to Cascades bike tour with my touring companion, Craig.
  • I pedaled the same Olympics to Cascades route a week later, this time leading my favorite riders -- many from the Pacific Northwest and Gulf Islands tour two summers prior.
  • I drove all the way across the country to Vermont to lead more bike trips and ended up bailing due to some health issues.
  • I visited my family for two weeks in mid-July, during which my father unexpectedly passed away.
  • I scouted the week-long Michigan Lakes & Trails tour for Discovery Bicycle Tours.
  • I enrolled in the Yearlong in Memoir writing course at Hugo House.
  • I hiked a handful of new-to-me routes near Seattle. (I can finally say I've hiked Mailbox Peak!)
  • I spent twenty-one weeks housesitting for my favorite four-legged friends in the Pacific Northwest.
  • I continued to coach a number of students in business communications.

The most monumental occurrence of this last year hasn't been an event, per se, but rather an internal shift. In the middle of this year, I made a commitment to that shift. I decided to close a door so that others can open. After all, if we keep on doing the same thing, we limit ourselves in our breadth of experiences. Leading bike trips has been a significant and wonderful part of my life for the last number of years, but I'm looking forward to new adventures. This doesn't mean I'm closing the door on bicycle travel. It does mean that I'm ready to do things differently. I'm ready for a change. 

Nine years ago, I closed the door on a stable career, a fixed home, and a predictable life. I stood on the other side of that door thinking "now what?" I had no idea that guiding would become such a significant part of my life. Here I am, nine years later. I have decided to close the door on guiding, and I'm standing on the other side once again wondering "now what?" 

In her book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry Into the Mystery and Art of Living, Krista Tippett interviewed the great essayist and novelist, Pico Iyer. For many years of his life, Pico traveled all across the globe gathering all sorts of experiences. With time, Pico's journey began to transform from the external to the internal. With this change, Pico no longer wished to travel about; he instead wished to sit still and process his experiences. "I think anybody who travels," Pico said, "knows that you're not really doing so in order to move around -- you're traveling in order to be moved. And really what you're seeing is not just the Grand Canyon or the Great Wall, but some moods or intimations or places inside yourself that you never ordinarily see when you're sleepwalking through your daily life."

I read Becoming Wise just after it was published in 2017. I immediately felt a kinship with Pico, feeling as though I was on his same path. I highlighted the above passage and have returned to it numerous times in the years since. I recognized I wasn't yet done collecting experiences, but I knew at some point I, too, would want to remain still and process my inner landscape. 

That's where I am now. 

I don't know what my future holds. I don't know what doors may or may not open. I do, however, know that I want to take an intentional pause in my life. And so that is what I am doing. I am pulling all my external experiences inward and reflecting on where I've been. I am giving my experiences meaning, and I am reflecting on where I'd like to go. 

Happy 9th re-birthday to me! Here's to another year around the sun and passages through doorways I don't yet know exist!

4 comments:

  1. Sarah, Happy 9th Birthday! Congratulations on 9 years of living an intentional life. I love your quote from Pico Iyer. There is another quote from him that I always ponder, "We travel to lose ourselves; and we travel to find ourselves." He is a wise man. I look forward to reading your wise memoir when it comes along in one year or in twenty years. Thanks for showing us that there is no formula for living life. The only requirement is to follow your bliss!

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    1. Ah, yes. That is another one of my favorite Pico quotes. I find myself highlighting almost everything he writes. I very much appreciate having you as a friend, a sister in writing, and a fellow bliss follower. Hugs~

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  2. I look forward to seeing where life leads you next! I admire how you listen to yourself and are always open to change.

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