So I turned 20 a couple weeks ago. Big stuff. It was fall break, we were in the oh-so-gorgeous Zion National Park. We woke up at 6am, packed up our tent and very frozen belongings and began a very long, but incredibly satisfying 18 mile hike from the West Rim to the East Rim. The day ended with hot food cooked on a camping stove, and I have rarely felt so content or so peaceful.
The thing is, I've spent my entire life having a love/hate relationship with my birthday. I would put all these expectations onto an otherwise ordinary day, and then be crushingly disappointed with the outcome. I'd spend months counting down to my birthday parties, weeks spent planning the menu, making invites and rehashing the guest list. And then on the actual day, the magical, incredible feeling that I'd spent all year expecting would never materialize, and I'd deflate like a popped balloon. This year was different- this year there were no expectations. I was cut off from all communication, surrounded by the most stunning and dramatic landscapes, and celebration came in the form of achievement and this feeling of smallness and awe that comes with being in a place quite so beautiful. I spent the entire day being grateful that I existed in a world that was capable of holding so much magnificence.
Being 20 years old may not have changed much- no fairies materialized, no epiphanies struck me at the stroke of midnight, and i most certainly have not figured out what I want to do with my life just yet. But something is different- somewhere I feel more hopeful, more secure in the things that I love, the people that I love, the way I want to love and be loved, but most of all I feel as though the angst and confusion that racked me all through puberty is finally behind me. Sure, there will be doubts, and insecurities and highs and lows, but somehow, for some reasion, I am so very excited for the crazy roller-coaster that lies ahead.
Here are some pictures from fall break in Zion. Three days of wonderful people, great conversations and scenery that made my jaw drop.