It’s Autumn!! And just as the leaves change color, life is always evolving and I had the opportunity to really settle into my scene here in Central Oregon last month. Through both work and personal time, I connected (or re-connected) with some truly exceptional women. Much of that time was spent on the water which I repeatedly find to be where people are most themselves–open and authentic. Side note, guys in my world are doing awesome things too and I’m all about the appreciation of all humans, but the perspective and learning I’m writing about here, is from the ladies.
I taught a private whitewater SUP clinic in August with two women I’d worked with before, but knew personally, very little. With them, I was pleased to skip right past the usual small-talk bullshit and “dive right into it”. Throughout the day, we each shared real emotions–both joyful and not-so-awesome, divulging past interpersonal challenges and current issues… work, the economy, relationships. All was fair game, listened to with genuine interest. I like to keep on top of time-management but this clinic was blown out of the water (pun intended, ha!) because a quick eddy-out would turn into 20 minutes of meaningful conversation. Yes please!
Early September I had the great pleasure of heading out to the McKenzie with a woman I’ve admired for years. She’s soft spoken and kind–and a better boater than she’d ever give herself credit for. She’s a “retired” acupuncturist, having gone back to school to earn a degree involving work with sustainable housing regulations, and creating greener living space. PS, if that was vague and you’re unclear, so am I to an extent. What I do know, is that we had fascinating conversation throughout the day, and after, I felt extremely uplifted and clear of mind. Hiking at the pass before dropping into my current favorite run on the river (Paradies to Bruckhart’s)… just wow… what a way to spend a day! No massage, acupuncture, drug or alcohol could bring me the bliss I felt that afternoon. Even now I imagine the way the sun, that time of day, makes the rapids sparkle…not the easiest to paddle because it’s harder to see rocks, but beautiful and cathartic!!
The following week I ran the same section of river but with a new friend…new to Bend and fairly new to my acquaintance. She’s an east-coaster in the best way…a go-getter and full of sass. We hiked up at the pass before paddling again, because I’d had such a good experience the previous week. Our conversation made way for more immediate topics like what the hell I’m doing with my life and what cool projects I might explore moving forward. To me, when life is really good it’s important to do a reality check on how long you’ve been in that comfortable space, because comfortable can become stagnant. That’s not to say longevity and loyalty aren’t important to me…they are…but life can get awfully mundane if we quit learning and doing new things.
In fact, the topic of continued learning and change was the one consistent theme with all the women I hung out with in the last month. Was it the pandemic or maybe just my/their age that we’re all experiencing similar “feels”? Seems to me that a lot of women I know are either making a conscious effort to shake things up, or are expressing the desire. My last post I communicated that I was feeling the need to challenge myself and make changes. Since that post, I’ve taken a two-ish month leave from work and relocated to the Willamette Valley where I’ve made space to figure this out. So far it’s felt really good to dust off the routine and try new (or really old, forgotten) activities. I imagine I’ll take on several new projects in my near future, but some of the one-offs I’m cooking up will be fun and might include rallying some excursions and retreats. Hit me up if you’re interested to hear more!!
Finally, I’ll leave YOU with a challenge. Whether you’re struggling to figure your shit out or blissfully happy living your “perfect” life, just do a self-check. Is there something that might need tweaking? Maybe the biggest of life-shifts or the smallest…like say, switching to organic milk instead of regular. It’s always good to check in with yourself. Have fun with it, and thanks for listening. Hope to see you out there on the frisky ripples!