My latest life resolution was conceived during an atypical women’s retreat that involved dance parties, whiskey, naked mid-day saunas, and three other women very dear to my heart. On one of our many wilderness walks during this retreat, Jen and Margi led us in the exercise that birthed my resolution: to find one wild word a la Terry Tempest Williams that was singular to the space we occupied in that moment, around which we could shape some epiphany or reflection.
We dispersed in search of our wild words, and I sat down next to the creek with my journal, ready for the words to flow out of whatever place they were supposed to flow from. I wrote down all the words you might expect: wild, adventure, free, beauty—all the clichés you can think of, really. But one unexpected word kept migrating from my pen onto the page.
Simplicity. I wrote it in capital letters.
My days have become frenetic, and it seems like there are never enough hours in them. I move fast with my work: talking to people, creating strategies, implementing concepts, emails and ideas flying through cyberspace, building something big from the ground up. My brain is in constant motion.
I rush from my computer to give my body equal motion treatment, throwing on my tennis shoes for a trail run or hopping on my mountain bike. Then I run to meet friends for a walk, a drink, a show, or to meet my family for dinner. I pride myself on rarely being home for a weekend, out chasing my next adventure instead.
I never sit still.
I feed off being busy, but deep down, I have discovered I crave simplicity—and I’m surprised at the discovery. I find myself dreaming about waking up in a snow-covered yurt high in the mountains with nothing to do except ski all day, or in the middle of the backcountry with nothing to do but walk the trail with everything I need on my back.
I can still find the simplicity of the backcountry on weekends, and I remain fiercely loyal to that pursuit and protective of my time in the wild. But those moments are fewer and farther between than a year ago when they spanned across all my days.
In between extended jaunts, I’ve found myself cultivating simplicity in the margins: throwing rocks in the creek with my nephew, drinking coffee in the early quiet with my lover, actually watching the entirety of a sunset.
I remind myself that my frenetic life is entirely of my own making—although I will allow that our culture of constantly being connected through our smartphones is an enabler of the fast and frenzied lifestyle. What that means is that I have to be intentional about cultivating simplicity. This is no small task for a raging extrovert who loves to be both mentally and physically exhausted at the end of a day. As in all things, it’s about balance, which is itself no small task either.
To celebrate kicking off this intention, I wrote this with an actual pen on the physical pages of my journal from my campsite in an empty corner of Escalante. Then I put my pen down and watched the rising sun warm the red cliffs with my coffee in my hand and my dog’s head on my lap.
I resolve to revel in these moments of sitting still.