Monday, September 29, 2008

Soaring With A Friend

This past week my friend Kim came for a visit and, as usual, we had a blast. We ate well, laughed well, and enjoyed each other's company quite well. We're a great match in friendships and always have a good time together, but one of my favorite things we do together is simply remind each other that we are "quite capable." We both enjoy pushing the envelop a little and awakening the parts of ourselves that sometimes get pushed to the background in the humdrum of life. I'll try to explain a little better.

When you get into your 40s and life is mostly about making ends meets, raising your kids, and fulfilling obligations, I think sometimes women forget that they once were young girls with hopes and dreams and ambitions. We tend to quiet our own passions and dreams so we can help the others in our lives, namely our husbands and children, excel. And we do so gladly. More than anything is this world I love helping my family become all they can be. I want my husband and my children to soar, to succeed. And I am thrilled for them when they do. But sometimes, in my effort to help them prepare, press on, be all they can be, and celebrate their accomplishments, I forget that I too can soar! I think it's a good thing for every woman to be reminded occasionally that she too can try something new, accomplish something grand, go somewhere different, and stand on her own two feet. I'm not advocating independence to the point of avoiding duties or shirking responsibilities. And I'm certainly not encouraging women to strike out on their own to the degree that they leave their loved ones in their dust! I'm just saying it's good to remember the girl inside occasionally and let her lead the way a little at the appropriate time.

Kim and I love trying new things, going new places. We try to pack a little adventure into every visit. We've backpacked a bit of the Appalachian Trail with my equally adventurous Aunt Ida and included a day hike in every trip Kim has made to Arizona. This time Kim decided we needed to do more than just a day hike. I was a little hesitant at first, but she was persistent and I'm so glad she was.

Kim and I struck out on our own Thursday morning with our backpacking gear and a map of the Madeira Canyon area of the Coronada National Forest. We had packed our food, our sleeping bags and tent, and plenty of water. We were on an adventure. We got a little lost on the scenic route we drove to the canyon, but eventually (after traveling about 20 miles on a winding, mountainous, dirt road through open range with cattle and all) we got to our destination. It was beautiful - so worth the trip.

We set up our tent and headed for the trailhead. After about a 2 1/2 hour hike upwards, we reached the junction of Old Baldy Trail and Super Trail (the one we were on). We hiked a little further up towards the top of Mt. Wrightson, but realized time would not allow us to finish the hike before sunset if we hiked all the way to the top, so we headed down. It was a great hike - invigorating and challenging, beautiful too.

Kim checking for text messages in the middle of the hike.

That evening we watched a DVD of King of Queens and Mary Tyler Moore on Kim's portable DVD player at our campsite table. We also built our first fire and feared that it was going to burn the entire Coronada National Forest down. But within a few minutes it had settled down to a pleasant glow. By eight o'clock we climbed into our tent and prepared to hear little critters scratching at the thin tent walls during the night. They never did. We slept on the very hard ground and woke up aching all over, but that didn't keep us from taking another 2 hour hike that morning. We broke camp and headed for warm showers and restaurant food!

Kim and I are not "he women." We both like to have our nails done, shop for new purses, and wear make up and perfume. But we love the outdoors and we love being active. We love challenges and we love trying new things. And I always feel better about who I am and what I can do after Kim and I have pushed the envelop a little. She pushes me forward and I do the same for her. She's one of the main persons who pushed me to go to a writers' conference and begin seriously querrying magazines about articles. And I'm one of the main persons who has encouraged her to work on her master's degree in counseling. We like to think we push each other to be the best we can be.

If you're a woman in the middle of life, raising kids, taking care of a home, bringing home a paycheck and fulfilling a dozen other obligations, make sure you also take time to remember your individual dreams and go for one or two of them occasionally. Don't neglect your husband or your children to feed your own ego or go your own way, but make the necessary arrangements (stock the freezer with good frozen dinners you never let them have otherwise!), grab a good friend (one that lifts you up to where you should be!), and take a day or two to realize a dream that has faded into the recesses of your memory. Dust that dream off, make it happen, and enjoy the feeling of your own wings as they cause YOU to soar!

No comments: