I was in the middle of nowhere Wyoming, on a wildlife preserve with two friends and three strangers. We saw a golden eagle up close, a few from afar. We cast lines and tried to catch fish. I was unsuccessful.
I took zero pictures. I did record some of the audio though. It might be one of my most treasured audio recordings to date. In the recording, you can hear the lapping of water against the boat, the chirping of birds, and the random conversation of four experienced fishermen contemplating life in all its forms. At one point, you can hear me snort while laughing, then say “gross,” when one of them dares another to eat a fly for twenty-five bucks. Someone mentions eating guinea pigs, fishing with Velveeta, some crazy dude he met hunting. Someone’s bubble butt.
The water was smooth and fast, the grass along the banks long and soft. The sky was bright and crisp and the sunlight was golden.
It was not somewhere I would typically spend a birthday, or any day, but it was perfect. I want another and another. As I cast my line again and again and again, hearing critiques every time, I loved it more and more.
Gummy! Pause! Why didn’t you pause? Try again. Gummy. Pull back harder. Gummy. Go again. Again. Try again.
I had a moment the other day when I remembered what I wanted my life to look like when I was 22. I am so, so glad my life looks nothing like I pictured. No rings on fingers, no ‘perfect job' (lol what even is that), no apartment all to myself and no simple Sydney-lead life.
The picture at the top of this post was taken the day I officially graduated from college. This was four months post-grad, after I'd been working at Starbucks, contemplating my 'failed' life and wondering how I had gotten so far off the track I had set for myself. This picture was taken by my friend Kristen, who somehow captured the perfect joy and hope I felt in that moment... for some stupid reason I didn't feel like a failure as I turned that tassel. I felt like I'd be alright, and that maybe my story could help people, that maybe I could enjoy the whirlwind as it whipped me around and around.
My 22nd was still, in spite of everything, so happy, so adventurous, so new and gone so fast.
Here I go into my 23rd year, more excited than I’ve ever been and I have zero plans. I cannot emphasize how little I’ve planned my life from this moment forward and how unlike me that is. I spend my working days planning for my business, scheming there, but in my own life, for the first time in I’m pretty sure forever, I’m not making my own plans. Yeah, I still have goals. They’re lofty and maybe unattainable, and their tucked into my heart, but in terms of set plans… baby, I got nothin’. For the first time, I’m going with the flow.
I’m riding down the Green River with two friends and three strangers, casting my line to the tune of “try again.”