Is this what it feels like to become domesticated?
Because it’s terrifying.
Because I think I’m starting to enjoy it.
I just had a cry on the phone to my sister. She didn’t help at all. Usually she’s real good with the exact kind of pep talks that I need in these moments: the ones that snap me out of my wallowing, or my nerves, or my doubting, and remind me that I am fine, I am more than capable, and it’s not all that bad/important/pivotal.
Except she didn’t help.
She just reminded me that it’s ‘only a choice’.
I get that.
That’s why I’m torn.
And it feels extremely pivotal, thank you very much.
You see, readers of mine, I feel like I’m most alive when I’m adventuring. When I’m out in the world. When I’m practising new languages, or meeting new people, exploring new lands, or conquering new feats. I guess if you’ve been following me (or know me at all), you already know this.
What you might not know, is that slowly, somehow, comfort has wormed its way into the cracks of my life, and as I chewed my nails off tonight fretting, horrified at the thought, I realised:
I don’t entirely mind it.
Ever since having to make the call to put my Pacific Crest Trail adventure on hold, life has hit the pause button. Reality doesn’t feel real anymore. This life is only pseudo life. It’s marking time, until I can get back out ‘there’.
Wherever ‘there’ is.
Which leaves me with a new painful, scary, unwelcome thought trying to push its way into the back of my mind:
What if ‘there’ is ‘here’?
I have a job that I love. It’s weird, I know. Brace yourselves: I’m a parking officer. Don’t egg me. And don’t ask how I went from a free-spirited wilderness gypsy to an ironed shirt wearing council worker parking officer. It even baffles me. Moreso, though, the fact that I actually enjoy it. Part of me feels like I’m single handedly fighting the stigma every parking officer out there endures. It turns out, I’m really good at handing out fines and befriending those same fined people simultaneously. (I am super charming. That’s what it is).
Thanks to this job, and keeping up a small side hustle of celebrity shifts at my local beloved Lennox Hotel, I have an income that has put my in the green for the first time in a long time. My combined bank accounts and assets (sorry Oscar vanWilde, you’re a great home, but we both know it can’t last forever) are more than I think I’ve ever had to my name. Except that one time, in the weeks between getting my paycheck from the Navy and blowing it on a brand new Suzuki Swift (what is it with me and vehicles?!).
I am surrounded by people that I adore. People that make me laugh. People that help speak life into me, who grow me, who support me, who dance with me, who encourage me to finish this stupid blog about the PCT (I’ll get around to it one day, I swear). People whose lives I think/hope I get to make a difference in too. People like this special one:
I have cherished little babies who are growing up way too fast for my liking, and ones that are still being cooked and about to meet the world. I have friends getting engaged, getting married, celebrating all sorts of milestones, and I want to be here for it all.
But like I said, I feel most alive out ‘there’.
The hiking community is my family.
I carry all I need on my back.
The trail is my home.
I am me, there.
I know it’s not normal.
It’s not conventional, by any means.
It’s not safe (literally, sometimes, but mostly figuratively, and definitely absolutely financially).
But it feels more like who I was born to be.
It feels like me.
Except when ‘me’ starts feeling pretty good right here, with a roof over my head, wine in my glass, a great job to go to tomorrow and appointments booked in for a haircut, for laser, for a dental check up.
Who am I even becoming?! What am I becoming??
I’m becoming domesticated, that’s what.
And maybe I’m becoming a new version of myself. One I didn’t see coming, but not necessarily a bad one.