You Can Have It All

This is the second instalment of my new "what balance means to me" series. In my last post I asked you guys to share your own piece! This one was written by Kristen who recently started her own blog Joy & Wild. Make sure to check it out after reading this beautiful post :).

My morning started early - waking up at 6am on a day off work. A smoothie full of healthy fats and a mug of green tea later, I was in the car heading from the city to the mountains. I had packed two backpacks: one for a hike to an alpine meadow, and the other to begin researching for a 15-page paper. The former held water, a camera, and some dark chocolate, while the later contained my laptop, notebook, and a knotted charging cord. Both packs carried my ambition.

Our car sped around the mountain highway with the ocean on our left and rocky cliffs to our right. Though nowhere near our destination, I could feel my tensions ease, as the promise of nature grew more tangible. We stopped at a gas station in the first town we passed. I bought a pack of trail mix and promptly inhaled it as my soft hunger grew to a growl.

After getting a little lost on old logging roads, we found the trailhead to our hike. It was steep. It was challenging, yet, somewhere within me comes alive in the woods. Finger tips to hipbones, palms to rib cage, my breath became art and my arms became wings. My heavy city soles evolved to fairy footprints among the moss. I floated over forest floors in a weightless dance. I found myself running over roots to return to my own. I grew up in a small mountain town but moved to the city for university. Wilderness feels like home to me. I was satiated and safe in the caress of Mother Earth.

We spent hours in that meadow. Frolicking in fields of wild flowers while the wind played with our hair and silence embraced our bodies. Time did not exist in those hours, and neither did our phones. It seems funny, looking back, how the outdoors does not seem like the “outside world” when you’re there. Schedules, social media, and work seem like reality when truly it is all a craft. In nature we feel we are in a sanctuary being rocked slowly awake to find our raw state of being.

We left feeling whole.

And then we returned to our schedules. We nestled into a cozy café in a comfortable seaside city. My friend ordered a soy turmeric late and I ordered a soy lavender London fog. Each sip was like drinking a cloud. I pulled out my notebook and began to search my university’s online library for barriers to competitive sport for people with spinal cord injury. The results blew my mind. Though studying is considered to be a hassle, I threw myself into the task. I became consumed by the literature and thrilled by successful interventions. I sat there and realized for the first time in a while how much I love rehabilitative science, neuro-anatomy, and education.

The “real world” is what you make it to be. For me, it is balancing my creative, raw, adventurous side with the part of myself that adores education, structure, and a professional healthcare career. They are not mutually exclusive. You can have it all.