I’m Back!

After two weeks away in beautiful Tanzania, I am back at home and ready to jump back into life here. I got home Sunday evening. Yesterday was tough, as my body was still very much on Africa time. But last night, I crashed hard and woke this morning feeling like myself again. I even managed a run this morning with Kerry and Jenny. It’s nice to get back into my routine.

I’m still processing my trip and expect I will for some time. This was the first trip I did on my own – where I traveled alone and didn’t meet someone I knew at my destination. I did, however, make a bunch of new friends. I met fellow climbers Susan, Trey, George, Christine, John, Cheryl, Liz and Bill. I also became friends with Elias, Liberaty, and Nemis, the three guides who ably led us up Kilimanjaro with the greatest of care and the best humor.

I’m proud of so much about this trip. I’m proud of my ability to camp, to tolerate the cold, to deal with the altitude, and to complete the task I set up for myself — that of reaching Uhuru Peak, the summit of Kilimanjaro. Mostly though, I’m grateful. Seeing a small part of Africa and climbing its highest peak taught me that I love my life. I love that I’m able to experience an adventure of this kind – that I have the means and the opportunity to do it. I love that I have people at home who care for me – friends who sent me off with enthusiasm and who checked in frequently with curiosity and love, a mom and dad who cared for my cats, my home, and my safety in my absence, and a sweet, sweet man who eagerly received whatever calls and texts I could manage from those foreign heights. I felt the support from home with every step. I’m so grateful.

Throughout the climb, I had to focus on the path immediately in front of me. If I looked ahead, I would become intimidated by the heights before me that I wasn’t certain I could manage. If I looked back, I experienced fear at the depths behind me – the long ways I could fall with the smallest misstep.  Occasionally, if I looked back, I got arrogant about what I had accomplished. I knew that neither fear nor arrogance would serve me moving forward, so I stayed as focused as I could on the very next step.

I’m still doing that. Now that I’m home, I’m staying focused on the very next step.

More than a year ago, I cleared my plate a bit. I quit the boards I was on and focused myself on work, writing, training, and relationships. The permission I gave myself then to simplify my life has served me well. I am continuing down that path of focus. How do I do my best work? Where should I focus my writing efforts? What physical goals should I set for myself? How do I best love my family, Dave, and my incredible circle of friends? If the opportunities before me don’t serve one of those four areas of my life, then I’m saying no to them, regardless of how great they might be.

It feels good to sit in gratitude and live a simpler life. For the first time in a long time, I’m not looking miles ahead of me or years behind me. I’m not eager to get somewhere else. I’m living in the present and thinking only about what comes immediately next.

I’m happy to be right where I am. I’m home.

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