|A scene from my NOLS course in 2005|
The other week I sent in my application to participate in a NOLS Instructor Course. If I’m accepted, I’ll have the option of attending the month-long course in early summer. If I do well on that course, and then if I can get a spot teaching on a course immediately afterward, I may spend a good portion of this summer backpacking in the Rockies. How great would that be?
At the same time that I’m trying to work towards the NOLS gig, I’m also trying to do the best work I can at my current job. Even though it’s technically only for the Christmas season, I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that I make a good impression and can hang onto the job in some capacity, even if it’s only part-time. It’s a good job so far, and I like the company (in both senses of the word– the people and the business). Still, that’s a lot of ifs in the near future.
As I’ve mentioned before, 2011 is the first year since I finished college that I haven’t hiked a long-distance trail. Long-distance hiking is as much a part of my identity as anything, but I got over that hole in my soul pretty quickly. Other things filled it, and I’m happy with those things. The hole is still there, though, like a round hole filled with a square peg. And it makes me question everything that I do that leads me further from the trail.
Vying for space in my mind with NOLS and my current job is another proposition. My friend from the Pacific Crest Trail, Uncle Tom, is getting a group together to make an attempt at the Continental Divide Trail in 2013. I can’t tell you how much I want to be a part of that group, but that idea would also put a damper on either of the two paths I mentioned above. These are the three ideas that are competing inside my head for the most attention. Sometimes it feels like a circus in there.
With the year drawing to a close, I’m a little distracted by a few more things as well (as if there’s not enough to hold my attention). I’m working on a top-secret project that I should be set to reveal in February or March (sorry, no hints for now); I’m still trying to find a balance between my home life and my ambitions as a hiker; I’m falling behind in some of my goals and deadlines for the winter; and I’m trying to resist my yearly urge to grow a winter coat and hide under my bed for the next three months. I never knew I could have so many options in my near future. It’s much more difficult than having one big event on the horizon, even though it seems like it should be more desirable.
Continental Divide Trail, NOLS, a home, a job, a life– the future is so full of possibilities. It’s a scary place. I don’t know what to expect, and I’m not sure what would be best. This will be my last post of 2011. I’m hoping that by next year I’ll feel like the ground beneath me is a little more stable. I like that I have so many paths I could take– it’s just that none of them have white blazes clearly marking the way.