Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thoughts on Winter Hiking and a Social Media Cleanse.

Here we sit, the last week of January.  Around here it has felt like spring.  The snow is melting, the skies bright blue.  There are even birds chirping.  I keep reminding myself that summer is not right around the corner.  More winter storms, bitter cold and plenty of snow are sure to come before the true spring makes any sort of appearance.  I have to say I don't mind one bit that winter is taking a hiatus.  I believe the reprieve will make the long winter that much easier to deal with.  Today I ran the M trail and it was 95% clear of snow and ice.  This is crazy for this time of year, but I love it...

Running on the bare trail, thinking of summer camping but knowing it's a long way off.  Getting to continue to be in the mountains this time of year makes this ok in my mind.  I think that's always the hardest part of living in a cold climate, not getting to be out in nature.  It's where I find my calm and if you can't do that for nine months out of the year, you spend so much time in chaos.  Making it a priority to still hike despite the snow, ice or cold that may be there helps.  When I'm on a trail I take in the silence around me...only hearing a few birds chirping.  In the quiet of winter the trails are pretty much empty.  Because of this, I share it only with the deer that startle me when I come upon them.  The mountains give me the chance to clear my thoughts....to dream big future plans while still finding contentment in the present moments.  

This past weekend, with the family, we ventured further up in the mountains.  To where the snow is still deep and the trails are full of ice.  It was a comical hike to say the least, especially on the way down when we found it easier to simply slide on your shoes...making our own version of skiing.
And crawling up the slickest places...
Giggling the entire way.  Winter hiking is awesome.  Of course the temperatures are unseasonably warm and that makes a huge difference.  The breeze felt warm, the air fresh.  The crunching of the snow under our boots and everything peaceful in the winter quiet.  Not having to share the trail with summer tourists, only a few back country skiers heading higher up the mountain.  Making our way to History Rock and checking out the only side of it not covered in snow...
Getting our fix to get through the next few months when real hiking can begin again.  

I am quickly approaching my 37th birthday.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  Never one to be too obsessed with age, but feeling weird about hitting my late thirties.  This has been my favorite decade thus far and I don't like seeing it near the end.  I want things to slow down a bit.  A couple weeks ago it really hit me and in the same moment I had this strong desire to log off of all social media sites.  I'm not sure why these thoughts came together.  Maybe because within my thirties, social media has become such a part of our lives.  Re-connecting with so many people on Facebook, finding inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram and following new bloggers I find along the way.  So many good things, but on the other hand realizing just how much I use these sites.  How many of my daily thoughts and ideas on life and parenting were coming from them.  Wondering where my own individual thoughts were among this jumble of information.  Am I thinking for myself or simply being bogged down with others thoughts?  I made the decision at that point to end my 36th year with a full social media cleanse until my birthday.  That was about two and a half weeks ago.  The first week I felt very free.  I didn't miss signing on and checking in.  I felt calm and my thoughts felt free.  I wasn't reading someone's blog and thinking man, I should try to parent like that.  I didn't look at someone's picture on Instagram of them on a beach and wish I was there and feel discontent about where I am.  I didn't post a photo on FB and wonder how many of my friends would like it.  Instead I thought about how beautiful it is right where I live...even if it's not a beach.  When it came to parenting, I just went from my heart rather than trying to be a certain type of mom.  I wondered about the pull of social media and why we put things out there...when we put a photo on, what are we looking for?  By having people like our photo, do we feel more accepted?  Does it go way back to middle school and the more likes you get you feel more popular?  Hmmm.  I quite enjoyed the first week without social media in my life.  The second week I found myself wanting to check in.  Wondering what was going on with everyone.  There was a feeling of missing out.  I pushed through these thoughts and they went away quickly.  I'm curious to see what this final week brings.  I have to say I feel very clear headed.  I like that I don't instantly reach for my phone during idle moments.  I like the peace I feel when just sitting with quiet times rather than needing to fill the space.  I know I will not sign off social media forever.  There are things I really like about it.  I like keeping in touch with family and friends.  I love seeing beautiful photos and gathering inspiration.  But, I know I want to change my relationship with it.  I want to focus on keeping my thoughts my own and without influence of others.  I want to rely on it less to fill boredom.  I don't want to use it to feel validated by the choices I make.  I know things are good, I don't need "likes" to tell me that.  

Well...that was a lot.  To think all of these thoughts came about simply because I have a birthday coming up.  I may just go off the deep end when I approach my 40th.  Dang.

Happy day to ya.  

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