Life Lessons From Colorado

I just recently returned from having some vacation time in Colorado; if I could pick two words to describe the entire experience in itself, they would be beyond beautiful. At times, I felt as though that I wasn’t in another part of the country, but an entirely different planet in itself.

Like all of my travels, I like to reflect on my experiences and what I learned from them. However, the hardest part is not trying to pick life lessons out of one particular week, but to actually put them into practice once resuming the usual routine.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t very keen on going to Colorado when this trip was in it’s planning stages; My siblings and I  been have spoiled rotten when it comes to travel destinations (My brother and I have been to Disney World about four times, visited the Caribbean Islands when we were both just going into grade school, and we went to Cancun the summer before my junior year). I’d gotten so used to staying at some of the best resorts and floundering around on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. To me, a vacation meant sand, sun and perhaps a fruity little chic drink to go with it. At the time, I so desperately wanted a plane ticket to either California or Arizona for graduation.

But the more I (or should I say, my parents) researched, the more I warmed up to the idea of hiking up a mountain and battling whitewater rapids. After all, they’d been on my bucket list (if you want to call it that) for quite some time.After a seventeen-hour car ride, that’s exactly what we did, and more. 

The one thing I generally enjoyed about those four days was that they related to what has become the theme of the last couple of months: different, but in a good way. I am normally accustomed to beaches, amusement parks and luxurious hotels. This time, we stayed in a quaint Comfort Inn, (well technically two, since we moved from one town to the other to be closer to the attractions) sipped mediocre coffee in the morning, and practically wore ourselves out by the end of each day. There was very few opportunities to sun-tan, but there was no humidity or pesky misquitoes to constantly slap. The air pressure was something new and it took a bit to adjust, but it was worth it when getting to take in the incredible views that nature had to offer. 

But like other getaways that I’ve taken in the past, it didn’t come without a lesson or two. On the last day we were there, I was climbing a rock formation at the Garden of the Gods (a nature center that can almost be mistaken for Sedona) with an intent on taking pictures at the top. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of looking down and thought to myself “Dear Lord, please do not let me fall!” while gripping the rocks to the point where my knuckles turned white. Actually, this was the case for almost everything we did; I had to be holding onto something or someone that could keep me in a position to where I wouldn’t lose my balance and fall. It was always the mantra of take plenty of pictures and get down promptly. The one thing I regret was not taking a whole lot of time to marvel and take in the amazing creations before me. 

And too often this has related to many situations in my life; since my early teen years, I’ve fought long and hard battles with my personal self-esteem. Confidence does not come easy, and there were periods that I didn’t have any. Now that I’m getting older, I constantly question my abilities in regards to certain physical tasks. The thing is, I know that I’m capable of making my own meals (and I mean actually cooking) and taking care of myself. My biggest issue is actually believing I am. This is especially difficult when I make mistakes and screw up; as much as I hate to say this, there are moments when I think that I am more of a burden then a blessing to my loved ones. This is especially true when I have to hear my own brother remark about how I am not going to survive a semester at college, or when my mother gives me a lecture about whatever the heck I did wrong for the umpteenth time. Deep down, I realize that I am not; but it most definitely feels that way at times.

And though I am probably contradicting what I said above, I once again came to the conclusion that life really isn’t all that complicated; or at the very least, it doesn’t have to be. I hear so many people (especially girls) bitch and moan about the so-called drama in their lives. In all honesty, I believe that when one constantly refers to a bad situation that they’re in, they’re the ones making it worse. Stop dwelling on things that are ultimately out of your control. 

As for me personally, I know that I worry and stress more then I need to. I can either look at what’s happening in the world and get discouraged, or I can use it as a motivation to actually make a change. I can wholeheartedly believe society’s stereotypes, or I can defy them and make a life for myself. I can muddle in our financial struggles and fear about not having enough money or my bank account, or I can budget wisely and know that whatever happens, God will give me all that I need. 

Life may be a climb, but it’s something that should be enjoyed, not feared.

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