If you could go back to December, would you? Fresh start, redo the past four months, but you lose everything you learned and all the memories. (I’m a sucker for the poll questions, don't you guys know!!)
I started this blog with the intention of posting weekly updates of my adventures, people I had met, and memories I wanted to savor. But (obviously), it hasn’t quite turned out to be that. It isn’t that I am too lazy to write these posts, or that I’ve been too busy doing exciting things that I didn’t even have a chance to sit down and write them. In fact I have spent days with my computer open to an empty blog page, but my mind draws a blank.
On January 2nd at approximately 10:00pm my family landed at O'hare after our week long vacation, and the clock started. I had 36 hours home before I was back on the road. I walked into my room that was full of cluttered piles, a color coded packing list, and empty suitcases and my race against the clock ensued. I woke up at 7:00am on the 3rd and I was go, go, go until 1:00am the 4th. My to-do list included 23 things I had to complete before my departure the next day. From store runs, to my family Christmas (January 3rd is the new December 25th people!!!!) there was much to be done.
Calendars are a scary thing these days. I looked at one for the first time in a while two nights ago and realized I have at least one thing scheduled every single day until I leave. Today is December 15th, and my home screen countdown reads "23 days, 11hrs and 40mins" left before I'm arriving at Zion. That doesn't account for the fact I'm leaving five days before that to road trip out there, or the seven days I'll be in Florida the week leading up to departure. (or the fact that I didn't end up posting this until December 18th) Which leaves us with a good 'ole 11 (8*) days "unaccounted" for before my life changes yet again.
If you know anything about me, you know I preach that relationships are disgusting and I don't understand how people could spend so much time with someone without getting sick of them. I've successfully steered clear of a romantic relationship for the past 19 years of my life!
I woke up the other morning and did the first thing I always do, checked my phone. I was looking on Snapchat and saw that little red dot that means "you have memories to look back on", so I clicked to see what funny or sad things I had thought were valuable to save on December 1st from the past few years. To my surprise, I saw a memory from four years ago today of a whiteboard with a list written on it. This wasn't your average list though, it was my life plan. To a tee. Ages, dates, places, and names (yes my CHILDREN'S NAMES) all listed out exactly how I thought my future would lay out. For your own amusement, here it is:
I woke up this morning with a message on my phone that read "Hey queen! You are light and a joy. Good morning, I hope you have a wonderful day!" I don't think ever in my life have I gotten a message like that. It took me by surprise, that someone to go out of their way to say that to me. So I decided, it was going to be a wonderful day. It was the 1st day of a new month (my last month at home!), but it was cloudy, no sun to be seen, and a high of a crisp 40 degrees. I had work at both my jobs and the only thing to look forward to was getting a haircut (I LOVE haircuts!!!), there was nothing particularly "wonderful" coming my way.
I remember the first time I visited you, as a young and naive almost 7th grader. I was miserable. My phone broke a day before the 2 week trip to come see you, a remote place with no beaches and only treacherous hikes. Turns out the day I got home from my first time seeing you, I got my first period so no wonder I was so moody the entire trip. But everyone says you aren’t really best friends if you didn’t hate each other at first, so looks like we’re really best friends now. I remember looking back on that first trip and being so mad at myself for not taking more of you in. I knew you had so much to offer but I let my young, phone-obsessed self, first period nearing self get in the way. So I knew I had to go back.
Around this time last year, my sister sent me a Tik Tok with the caption "this is your sign to work at a National Park with your best friends", with my sister's attached caption as "GG!!!! Look into this!!!". We were deep into the pandemic, I had just taken a semester to travel the east coast, and I had no idea what next week had in store for me, let alone next summer. I remember thinking "I have nothing better to do, might as well look into it", so that night I got on coolworks.com (my favorite social media, please sponsor me) and scrolled for hours making a list of all the jobs I was interested in applying to. By the next week I had applied to more than five National Parks, and by the next month, I had been offered a job at Yellowstone. Once I was offered the job, I had three days to accept. This was mid-January 2021 and again, I had always been the person to do things last minute so I was in a panic that I had to decide what to do with my life five months in advance, but I guess that's how the real world works or something?? So I decided, I was going to go.