This memory from 5 years ago, while it doesn’t seem much other than a pretty beach picture, holds a lot of weight. It was taken while on a work trip to the coast, actually providing a moment of peace in the middle of a crazy year that involved planning a national conference, training for and completing a 200-mile bike ride adventure, ending a relationship, and trying to figure out who and what and where I wanted to be. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the year ahead would hold a new relationship and more volunteer adventures.

I was frustrated with finding balance in life. I’d reached out to a friend, who gave me some sound advice that I put in a blog post in August 2016, where I reflected on a backpacking trip during which I’d had an anxiety attack, trying to make sense of it all:  

“Talking with a friend the other night, he said, you just have to learn to say no. Truly listen to what you want to do and do it. It doesn’t make you weaker or less of a person if you don’t climb mountains all the time, or decide you want to have an in-town weekend, or if you want to do yoga all the time instead of sports, or embrace your new found love for biking, or pick up a water sport.


Three days after that emotional backpacking trip, I was sitting at a campground on the Pacific coast. I was there for two days of work but I couldn’t bring myself to find a hotel or sleep in the Jetta. I wanted to sleep as close as possible to the ocean. So I tossed the tent, sleeping bag and pillow in the car. A few snacks. Backpacking stove and a dehydrated meal for my dinner, which I delightedly and slowly ate on the beach as I people-watched. I could feel the sticky but refreshing layer of the saltwater on my skin. I’d been excited by the idea of sleeping by the ocean, by myself. Ironically, all completely forced by logistics of work.

And maybe my friend is right.

Maybe I should buy a surfboard.

That friend was Jeremy. Over time, he would become one of my favorite people in our mountain rescue unit. We wouldn’t start dating for another 3 years. Last week was our 2-year anniversary. 

We went surfing together in March.

We’re currently working through figuring out this “summer,” which really doesn’t feel like a summer. It’s weird, hard, emotional, triggering and stressful, not chill and relaxing and summery at all. We haven’t been to the mountains at all this summer and I think that’s part of our “meh, who cares, nothing matters anymore” attitude right now.

That all said, I wouldn’t want to try and do this with anyone else. We were watching Ted Lasso last night and Ted asked Higgins how he dealt with the hard stuff in life with his wife. Higgins replied: it’s not hard when you have someone with you that makes it easy.

Happy Anniversary, babe. I’ll take all the moments we can get, from people watching at Sirens over a shared plate of nachos and beer, to working through a pandemic, to running away to the mountains together.