When I was young my career goals bounced between being a National Geographic photographer or a marine biologist. I wasn’t sure how someone got to do those jobs, but I wanted to find out. I spent hours poured over glossy photos of adventurers, nature, and wildlife. I daydreamed about exploring the world around me.
And then life happened, and I lost sight of those dreams.
I was married at 19 years old, and had my first son at 24 years old. I was just getting settled in a life with a salaried job as a massage therapist, living in a new city, and expanding my world. For the first time since I was young I felt like I had enough security to begin exploring the world and find hobbies I enjoyed.
I was an amateur ski bum and found myself drawn to trails on sticks, wheels, or by foot whenever possible. I enjoyed running and felt powerful in my strides. I had just purchased my first climbing harness and my friend passed down an old pair of climbing shoes.
And then that positive line on a pregnancy test showed up.
I’m not gonna lie, I was thrown. Would I stay home and take care of the baby while my husband at the time focused on his career? Would I make enough money to bring any money home after day care expenses if I worked? After months of contemplating my husband and I decided to move back to Utah to be closer to family and I would stay home with the baby while he worked. Eventually, I worked part time at night and on the weekends, we had another lovely baby boy, and did the baby/work handoff for several years.
After my job cut back insurance benefits for my position, and my youngest son started first grade, I decided to go back to school. The task felt enormous after a 15-year break from classes. I started in a Math class two courses below college level. It felt like it would take forever to earn a Bachelors Degree, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. After I took the first step of registering for class, a series of doors opened and opportunities presented themselves. Several years of devotion and hard work paid off, and today I am still not sure where I am going to end up—but I have a pretty good idea and a new skill set to put my plans into action.
I still get jealous of glossy photos of adventurers in magazines, and while I am not sure how those lucky people got their jobs, I do know that every adventure starts with an idea. So, I picked out an adventure—and now my kids are old enough to join me. Utah has 29 counties, and as it turns out each of those counties has a highpoint. People climb them! This summer and fall I have chosen seven peaks to bag, and after that the rest will come. I don’t know if seven peaks will lead to conquering the Seven Summits of the world, but I do know it all starts with a first step.
Let me know if you want to join me on any of the hikes!