I’m the poster child for late bloomers…but I like to think of myself as a perennial. I go through cycles of blooming and live to bloom another day. I bloomed a couple of years ago with my long-distance running. That’s not to say I won any awards (ok, ok, I did come in second in a small 10k), but I did run four half-marathons and live to tell the tale.
My latest blooming, or rather struggling to dig my roots in and raise my leaves to the sun, is to go back to school at night for a masters in environmental science. If I were going to college now, I would pick it as an undergraduate, but back when I went to college it really wasn’t an option. No worries…I believe in reinventing myself at every age.
I started my new degree a little over a year ago. I took a groundwater modeling class just because it was the only class offered in my degree. Last Fall, I took a course in restoration ecology and fulfilled one of two prerequisites, geology. Now I’m taking environmental communications and environmental chemistry. It’s more of a struggle than I would like to admit…
In all of this, though, is a wonderful adventure…the other prerequisite that I need is a field course. So, I’m going to Iceland. Yes, pity poor me, I “have” to go to Iceland! I will study the geology of volcanoes and glaciers in the place where the earth is visibly tearing apart. I will hike up volcanoes, ford streams, swim in geothermal pools, and sketch land forms into a notebook as the wind and sleet assail me.
The first thing I’ve done to prepare myself physically, is to buy my first pair of hiking boots. Off I went to REI…I joined the team as a member…which means $20 to be used to support local trail systems. I bought my first pair of hiking boots, and a pair of water shoes…for those times when I need to ford a stream. I bought hiking socks too. My premise is that if my feet are happy, I will do well.
Back home, I put on my socks and boots and went for a “hike” around the neighborhood to break in my boots. Three miles later, I felt as if I’d made little progress in breaking in my boots. The next morning, however, I felt differently. I had shin splints. My calves, and various and sundry other muscles, were inexplicably sore. I had expected to get blisters as part of the breaking-in process, but apparently it wasn’t really the boots that needed to “break in”, but my own body that needs to prepare for my trip.
I woke up sore today, but after work I put my hiking boots on and headed out for a walk. This time I only went two miles, but I felt as if I were wearing ski boots. Each step felt heavy and filled with import.
Now my boots are five miles into breaking in…and so is my body! I can easily walk, or even run a few miles with no negative effects, but hiking must be a different experience all together. Good thing I am starting two months in advance to prepare my body for my next, big adventure!
Find the Joy in the Journey…and never stop finding new journeys!