Graduating from college, my first job was at the Colorado Outdoor Education Center for the Handicapped. Though I’d hoped to mentor young people with physical disabilities on how to navigate and appreciate nature, the majority of our students were those with intellectual challenges. In my first week on the job, I recall a teenage man who one day, after numerous failed attempts, was able to zip the zipper on his jacket all by himself. He was ecstatic as was everyone around him.
Reflecting upon what I’d just witnessed, the penny dropped. Here I was, a young adult, charting his life journey, but burdened with all the anxieties that come with navigating the world we live in. Did I have enough medical insurance? How much were my taxes? Would I find another girlfriend? My mountain of concerns kept me from enjoying my accomplishments and all the gifts I did have. The stress I’d created for myself was destroying all the good things in my life and I had lost the joy and satisfaction with small things like zipping my zipper and hiking into the forest. I needed to change.