This past weekend, Andrew and I headed down to Stinson Beach to hike and hang out for a weekend away. I get a little crazy if I don’t get some nature in my life every once in awhile, and getting to the ocean and the trees seemed pretty perfect.
My body has been a little achy recently. No, not pregnant or sick or anything, just tired. Yoga teacher training (with it’s hours of practice) and teaching and grad school and life have left me a little worse for the wear, and not two miles into our hike, I got sore, tired and whiny. We hiked from Muir Woods to Stinson Beach via the Dipsea trail, which is only six-ish miles, but there are 676 stairs and my right knee was aching. Several times, I told Andrew I thought we should turn back, but then I came up with a brilliant plan: instead of going there and back together, I’d go one way and then wait on the beach while Andrew ran the trail back (I’m absurdly slow and he was itching to run) and then he would pick me up. This meant I would have a little time alone on the beach, which is ideal because I get pretty giddy.
We decided to go our separate ways about a mile before Stinson Beach, and as I descended the path down to the beach, I felt my frustration and exhaustion give way to total joy.
It sounds super cliche to say just about anything profound about the ocean, but damn, it does something for me. As I sat on the beach, I was overwhelmed (as I always am) by its size and power. Sitting near the ocean always makes me feel so safe, so taken care of, because if that huge body of water can find its way, surely my problems are tiny enough to be handled. I wrote in my journal for a few minutes, mostly a list of gratitudes, but I put it away quickly, because I realized that what I really wanted to do was just sit and be there.
I thought about the walk I’d just taken, and how exhausting and painful it’d been to get to be there, sitting on that beach, but I realized that there’s nowhere I’d rather be: that the dull ache in my knee and the exhausting, steep parts of the hike had been worth it to be right there.
I’ll spare you the life metaphor (I’m sure you understand what I’m getting at here), but what struck me over and over again as I sat there was the number of times life has totally redeemed itself for me. I’m in hyper-reflective mode as I inch closer and closer to 30, and as I sat on the beach, I mentally scrolled through the journeys I’ve been through in this decade of my life, and wow, there’ve been some tough ones. But all, without fail, ended up like that hike did: in a place more beautiful than I could’ve ever imagined, a little sore maybe, but so much better as a result of having taken the journey.
If there’s one thing I want to take away from the past 10 years, it’s this: things always work out. Even when it feels like there’s no way. Even when your heart hurts so bad it seems unbearable. Even when you’re scared shitless about what’s to come. Also? Maybe try to be less scared shitless, because you know it’s true: things work out. Just keep going. Worry less about how hard things are now, and instead, get really stoked about the view, because it’s coming. It always does.