We were in the Rocky Mountains, driving from Durango back to the Front Range. I could tell he didn’t want to leave yet, those hills being his most comfortable place.
“Ok,” I said. He pulled the car over and flipped a u-turn to head back into the heart of his most beloved places.
It was late fall, the perfect time for a ride through the Aspens. The changing leaves gleamed gold against the bright blue Colorado sky. We passed through tiny mountain towns, slowed down for photos of random exquisite beauty, a slick sliver of a mountain river, the reflection of the mountains in a hidden lake, secret coves of pine and stone.
As we wound through the mountains he pointed out his favorite things.
“People who live here get it,” he said, “they love it here and they are happy.” His love of the mountains was palpable.
Our trip through the mountains reminded me of what it should feel like when you’re in love. Not with a person, but with where you are, who you are and what you are doing. Often in our discontent we wonder if we are missing something somewhere else, or if I we could be better if we were doing something different. These questions are valid, and often move us into the right direction, but sometimes they make us miss the beauty right in front of us. I adore the ocean and I usually don’t feel connected with where I am unless I am near water. I realized that I never take the time to truly get to know the celebrated nature of my state because I am always planning of being somewhere else.
I wonder if I allowed myself to always be in love with who I am and where I am in this moment, if I could move forward smoothly instead of with such force.
We wound up driving to his favorite mountain pass, O’Phear. We stopped at a stream and dipped our feet into the fresh, freezing water. It took our breaths away.
The truck rolled up the crumbly stone path and we rose to the top. A valley of orange and red trees speckled the landscape and stretched out below us. There were spots of brown and green earth that reached far into the distance and met with the sky. He put his arms out as if to give the earth a hug. We shouted into the basin, our voices bouncing back to us. In that moment, we were nothing but happy.
Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” When you look at yourself and where you are, what do you see? What you are or what you are without? Where you are or where you should be? Could you be happy with the present, even if it’s just for a moment? Can who you are with, what you are doing right now be just as beautiful as what you dream, even if it’s not perfect?
A lot of us know we’re not doing the exact thing we want to be doing with our lives. We’re not making enough money or we’re making too much. We don’t feel we’re making enough of an impact or following our art. We want to leave because staying and connecting is sometimes so scary.
Instead of panicking, let’s take a step back and look at how far we’ve come. Let’s look around at the beauty around us and give ourselves a break and be thrilled with who we are, where we are and who we are with. Eventually, things will change, whether we want them to or not.
But for now, be present and breath it all in. Be happy with who you are because you are amazing.
Fall in love.