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Welcome to the Big Leagues

The last four months have been....... well...... interesting. To my understanding, it's been a beautiful and obnoxiously emotional grand crescendo of a finish to my twenties. I get it. It's just a number, but as I approach the end of a decade, each of my loved ones who has gone before calls back from the trail ahead and assures me.

"There's a way better view up here!"

I believe them. I feel it, too. Already I sense the unraveling attachment to many viewpoints to which I've clung so desperately. I'd gotten so excited about the view mid mountain and so irritated with the tedious one foot in front of the other task of ascending, that I sat down for a pleasure break and never picked up the pack again. Not to say that there's anything wrong from giving yourself a break, or pausing for pleasure, or getting distracted by beautiful blue-eyed boys with sad stories and a wake of chaos. As a matter a fact, without that year-long frenzy of infatuation, I'd be denied the truth that rained back down into my open hands after the implosion. I might have missed the lesson, if those hands hadn't been so obviously vacant having grown accustomed to being held, cherished, clung to, and crushed. Furthermore, the break blessed me with new perspective. The only one choosing to navigate the trail ahead was me. I wasn't required to climb this mountain and no one was forcing me to take the same trail as I'd planned or the wanderers before had traveled. I could bush whack, if I wanted to, out of stubbornness or stupidity or determination or innovation. There was still time to backtrack and luckily, despite feeling a bit demoralized, I wasn't lost. I knew exactly where I was, I just wanted to be somewhere else. I got angry, stomped my feet, scrawled feverish lists, dillydallied in distractions, then gazed back at the trail I'd been walking on before the relationship tornado hit. Wait, let's rephrase, before I went chasing after a tornado and got scooped up. I looked at the path down and contemplated heading back to base camp. Then I gazed out at the gorgeous views already present. Finally, I directed my focus on the peak of my fancy, the one I had been so sure I wanted to summit before. Yup, I'm going up!

One month later, eyes still puffy from all the "aliveness" I'd been experiencing while continuing to sleep in the empty shell of a bedroom we'd shared, my coping mechanism had become fitness masochism. I didn't want it to be hard. I needed it to hurt. Bad. Luckily I'd found Barry's boot camp, a combination of treadmill interval training and weight lifting. Yes, I am a yoga teacher, but I needed the big guns to get out of my head. I needed body breakage. I needed Barry's. The trainers adopted a philosophy that from my perception could be summed up in the statement. "Yes, this is hard. If you wanted easy you would have gone somewhere else. Quit whining." The music boomed jarringly loud, the lighting set from dim to dark. Occasionally a trainer might offer a motivational speech mid-telling you how it is, if they were waxing sentimental. That day, gearing up for our last set of sprints, AJ dropped this brain ninja nugget on me.

"If you wanna be a beast, you gotta hunt!!" I'd been inches away from dropping out of the last sprint, due to nausea. (Did I mention I hate running?) And, instead nudged the speed a little higher. What an absurd and yet incredibly potent statement. If you want it, you gotta do the leg work. It's not about a one time show up and shine, it's a constant honing, so that when you are in that glistening moment of satisfaction, you know what to do! This applied to everything! I wanted to experience love again, but I sure as hell didn't want to date. I'd wanted to be an incredible yoga teacher but the anxieties had overwhelmed my desires. Auditions and public speaking and workshops and subbing all sent zings of anxiety into my belly. Furthermore, why am I complaining about the work it takes to be awesome? There are bright and brilliant possibilities everywhere. Why am I still standing in the corner bristling over the way life has unfolded in the past? I love to learn, stumbling is learning. Time to hunt.

Back to the trail, a few days ago, my friend and I trekked nearly twenty miles to the summit of San Jacinto, a peak that sits at 10,834 feet in elevation. This fool lives at sea level! The last time I was at 10,000 feet I was so sick from elevation I tried to turn around. My beloved cohorts didn't let me, but I tried. This time I was a bit more prepared. Unlike my relatively reckless ascent of Whitney, I'd been cardio training. (Thanks again to Barry's) Furthermore, we'd jetting up to 8000 feet the day before and most importantly, I recognized that it was highly probable that this hike would be difficult if not painful but hey, if you want to be a beast, right? This mountain was also on one of the first aforementioned scribbled lists. It'd also been on my 2016 list. The mountain was so close to home and lauded by John Muir, it'd been on my desire radar for quite sometime. That said, a few miles in I caught myself engaging in that ever so typical thought pattern. I blamed the trail! Why's it so steep? Why's is going up? Oh no, don't go down! We'll just have to go back up again.... and so on and so on, but then I started to laugh. I don't want to blame the trail anymore. What's the point? I don't want to be bitter with the people who walked before and blazed a pathway. It seems so useless to kick and scream and rebel because someone showed me a trail and I didn't want to take it, whether because I thought I knew better or because I wasn't drawn to that pathway or even believe that peak existed. Furthermore, I'm so grateful for the many trails. For the people who walked before and hammered out the way, not because I have to take it but because I can. I've been youthful and stubborn and you bet your ass I did some literal and metaphorical bush whacking in my twenties. I imagine I'll do some more in the upcoming decade, but I'm done blaming the trails and the people who walked on them. I'm done making the journey harder than it has to be with my stubbornness, my refusal to accept help or ask for guidance, or lack of preparation. I'm done damning the darkness that has been my greatest teacher. I hope I'm done chasing tornadoes, but that one might take a little more time honing of my hunting skills. Either way, there are so many mountains, so many viewpoints, and so many trails to consider. Cheers to the view from thirty! I'll see you in a month!


Yogi Gone Rogue


Anika Spencer | San DIego, CA

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