As you have probably noticed, I have been doing a bit of preparation for this trip. Getting AAA, finding my camping gear, creating packing lists, finding the “right angle” for my face for when I take my first selfie with a bear . . .
I have also been trying to catch up with friends and family in this area. A couple of weekends ago, I spent time with two of my cousins, watching comedy and getting in fights. My cousin, Jasmine, has lived in Alaska, so she was giving me a few pointers about my trip . . . mostly I am supposed to be less stupid than I typically am when venturing out on my own. No worries though – I am not a Chris McCandless, although, I envy his strength and resilience. I can’t imagine doing everything he did in such a short period of time. If you have not read Into the Wild (Krakour, 1997), I highly recommend you check it out along with everything else John Krakour has written, but I digress. Basically, I need to start living “in the present”.
I had a conversation this last week with one of my closest friends (who also happens to be my most recent ex). We discussed how we both have a difficult time living in the present. For me, I am either always looking back at the mistakes I made or into the future — how will what I do in this moment impact the steps I take 2 days, 5 months, or 12 years from now? I focus on the “what ifs” and not on the immediate happenings. I need to stop doing this. It doesn’t change anything. What it does do is make me regret those chances that I did not take . . . which leads me down the “looking back” path. Living a life filled with regret is not what I want for myself.
What I need to learn is mindfulness. Every thing I do, I need to be present with it. Every piece of chocolate that I eat, I need to savor the flavor and not just chow down because I am stress eating. Learn to notice the brief moments happiness around me and take pleasure in them. Notice the crack in the sidewalk and step over if – not trip, fall, sprain my hand, and tear my favorite pair of jeans . . .
I have decided to start working on this idea of living in the present and being mindful. I hope that this trip will help with this. I know that I have to be aware of my surroundings at all times. I cannot fall so deep into my own head that I miss the beauty around me (or my chance at the bear selfie). I also hope that living in the now and being aware the world around me may assist in my developing some gracefulness. I do tend to trip and fall . . . a lot. I think I will get a small tattoo on my wrist that says “GRACE”. I can be a constant reminder to stay in the now, know where my body is relationship to the world around me. (If you know of a good tattoo artist in your area, let me know!).
On that note, I will let you get back to your regularly scheduled programming. Only two more weeks in the Fargo/Moorhead area! If you want to get together before I hit road, hit me up! Otherwise, you can find me here.