When I first became pregnant with Cali, I remember a lot of people told me what I would and wouldn't be able to do as a Mom. My acting teacher told me there was no way I could have a baby now, that I was only in the beginning of my career and this would ruin my chances of catching a break. My cousin told me I would definitely have to move back to Vermont and live with my Mom, (because how else could I possibly survive?) I went to a writer's room and proudly told the group about my decision to be a Mom to my precious baby girl. The leader of the group sneered "Well, you're life is over." Without skipping a beat I corrected him. "Nope, it's just begun!"
Somehow, amidst all the fear of the new life that lie ahead, the desperation of my situation (having just moved to a new city with no solid community of friends and no family around and very little savings), the sadness at having so suddenly kissed my carefree twenties goodbye, and a million other feelings doubly fueled by hormones, I felt an inexplicable peace "that passed understanding" that my (our) lives were going to be amazing! I knew they might look different than I had schemed, but I knew, (yes, "just knew"), that this path was right and that it would be epic. So far, that hasn't been wrong!
Have we backpacked through Europe, staying in hostels with people we just met along the journey and flying on a whim to join a group WOOFing in New Zealand? Nope. That'll have to come later. But, have we managed to pack in some amazing adventures that are perfectly sized for us, just as we are right now? YUP.
This weekend, Cali and Luna and I drove up to Mammoth Lakes Basin for some camping with a friend of mine. I got to go rock climbing for the first time, having only climbed on gym walls before! We bathed in Wild Willy's natural hot spring and ate the biggest cinnamon bun I have ever seen.
It was nothing short of awe inspiring. Even just within the state of California there are unbelievably beautiful places to see and adventures to be had!
Is raising Cali by myself a challenge? Every. single. day. But I am choosing to keep seeing life as an adventure and to take advantage of opportunities to have new experiences together whenever we can. This trip cost me round trip gas money from Los Angeles to Mammoth and not much else. We borrowed tents and brought food (except for the cinnamon bun!).
At the end of the day, life is what you make it. There have been periods of our lives where I wouldn't have attempted this trip. When Cali was first born just surviving each day with a newborn and keeping her alive, fed and clean from poop explosions were pretty much all I could think about. After that I was focused on working as much as I could to create some stability for us and a small savings. You have to put priorities in order. But you don't have to put your life on hold. You're going to wake up every day and be alive for as long as you live. So while you're doing that, do some fun things that bring you joy! Spending time in nature always restores my soul, so finding ways to make this happen is something I need. And I'm so glad that Cali seems to love it, too!
In high school and college, sometimes I would get B's on projects or tests. I would always say "B is for Balance!" (don't ask what I would say about a C). I was happy with B's because I was always doing SO much! (working multiple jobs, taking a full 18 credits, working as an RA, hosting on the school radio station, acting on student films and TV shows, singing in a choral group, being a gym rat, hiking, and yes, partying!) I have always believed that a full life takes a balancing act. So don't give up on your big dreams. Still plan on doing that backpacking trip through Europe when the time is right. Work hard and save for that downpayment on a house, dream car, boat, pony. But in the meantime, take bite-sized adventures! Don't forget about the opportunities in your backyard. I haven't been to Europe but I have a feeling Mammoth (or whatever beautiful, wild, unique place is near you) is just as fun!