It was all unknown to me then, as I sat on that white bench on the day I finished my hike. Everything except the fact that I didn’t have to know. That it was enough to trust that what I’d done was true. To understand its meaning without yet being able to say precisely what it wasâ€¦ …It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.
It Was All Unknown to Me Then: The Reprise.
A year ago, I sat on my couch in my minuscule, overpriced, San Francisco apartment, glass of wine in-hand amidst what was left of my life’s belongings piled in boxes and bags around me, preparing to flee the mental and physical claustrophobia of the city to the open unknown of the mountains. I still don’t really know what exactly inspired me to move; I can list the reasons it suddenly became valid and reasonable after I actually started planning, but I can’t place what lightbulb went off (and when it went off) that instigated it all. Intuition? It was the same feeling I had when I decided to move to Scotland way back when, one of these surges of ‘I have no idea where this came from, but I know this is right, and that’s it.’
It was all unknown to me then.
A year ago, thisÂ wasn’t the life I pictured. Two years ago, it certainly wasn’t. But in between the extremeÂ highs and extreme lows, the pastel sunrises and vibrantÂ sunsets, Karl the Fog’s heavy blanket and Tahoe’s endless snowflakes, the deep sadness and insomnia-inducing anxiety, I learned to let go and float along with the unknown. Like all things, it is (and forever will be) a work in progress.
IÂ flashback (a lot) to moments, in a way that’s not just blurry mentalÂ pictures, but intense, whole-body feelings. Some days it hurts, and it’s still too easy to get sucked in andÂ wallow inÂ that pain, in a sadistic, self-mutilating sort of way. Some days it doesn’t, and I feel disconnected, like I’m watching this bizarre film of my life from a third person view, where I’mÂ angry at the producer and director forÂ representing that as me. Some days it just is, and I look around at where I am sitting at that particular moment, and I don’t reallyÂ believe it’s real, because is this really where these two years of chaotic hell were going? Is that feeling – that feels a lot like ‘contentment’ and ‘happiness’ and ‘balance’ – actually a real feeling, and not something I’m just tacking an appropriate name to, in aÂ desperate attempt to be done? If I admit that I’m not defeated, isÂ thereÂ some massive fireball that’sÂ going to, once again, come shootingÂ down fromÂ the sky to destroy me?
It was all unknown to me then, and in five years, ten years, fifty years, when I look back at this moment – where I am sat on my couch in a house filled with love and laughter and patience, another beagleÂ snoring loudly on my legs, wrapped in the quiet, openness of the valley and surrounding mountains – I’ll laugh at how everything at that moment was so unknown to me now. There was a point to the madness, there was a motive to the mystery, that brought me to this placeÂ and will bring me to all the places to come.
But here, right now, at this point in time –Â I am exactly where I need to be.
* Cheryl Strayed,Â Wild