“The voyage of true discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes (Marcel Proust).” When I returned to Colorado, I was sure that my new vision would take me to newer and richer places than I ever could have visited on my trip around the world. Looking back at the happiness times in my life, they have always been defined by group goals and experiences versus personal ones, even if it is was just a group of two. Individual goals, like my marathons or traveling the world, do satisfy me, but they have never brought out my best.
Unfortunately, the pursuits I went home for did not end up taking me to happier places. The failure of those pursuits didn't take me anywhere, good or really that bad. However, my continued effort to maintain parts of those pursuits took me down a dark road. Like trying to hold on to sand by gripping it too tightly, they slipped away despite my best efforts. I thought continuing to choose a path of understanding and hard work would lead to success. It failed, repeatedly. I did not learn from those failures and I started to take it personally. I let it affect my judgement of myself when it was probably never about me. For the first time in my life, I felt I was looking at what I didn't have instead of celebrating what I did have (I have no idea how some people live their entire lives like that). It left me a little jaded, but I'm slowly kicking that garbage attitude to the curb where it belongs.
I hope that going back to Antarctica will help me complete the transformation of my attitude. After seven months spinning my wheels in Denver, I was finally starting to find my way again. However, some small pieces were still missing. I could probably find them in Denver eventually, but I believe going back down to the Ice where I'll feel like an integral part of a community, where my work will have a purpose, and where I last felt complete will put me back where I want to be quicker.
I'm going back to find something I lost. I am going back to learn to trust my judgements and decisions again. I am going back to find my confidence. I am going back to find a way to love myself because I can't fully accept the love of others (thank you friends) until I can accept and love myself. I am going back to take responsibility and find forgiveness for myself.
Along the way with all that serious stuff, I'll reconnect with old friends. I'll make new friends from around the world. I'll get a close up look at more of the science in Antarctica. I might get to see more of the continent. I'll skate ski. I'm considering learning to kite ski. It will give me a small chance to play with New Zealand team at the World Ultimate Frisbee Club Championships in Prague in July. I should get to visit old friends in Sydney and even visit Hawaii for the first time. It will also remind me to appreciate the great things I have back home that I don't have access to like friends, team, family, and (probably most importantly) Sabah. Yes, I probably have more separation anxiety about leaving my dog that she does about being left, but I've never chewed anything up when she left me. Maybe I will this time.
Sabah and Nala at Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.