freedom, forgiveness, & the wild search for edible fungus

Two weeks ago, I was starting to feel in command of my life.

Each end of day, I would plan the points of interest and to-do’s for the next day in my new-found freedom. What am I talking about, you wonder? For the last three months, I have been living life job-free, and honestly, really struggling with this new position. I know that sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. For the last 22 years of my life, I have been at the very least, part-time employed. The importance of being a productive member of society is a value that was ingrained in my psyche as a child. 

I landed my first job when I was a freshman in high school. Working for a wedding photographer on the weekends became a semi-regular event every-other weekend (the other weekend was spent at my Dad’s house), and eventually, I took on part-time work at my high school theater. Having spending money was fantastic, and I felt like I was doing what I could to do my part to … well, bring myself up into adulthood, and a contributing member of the family. Taking care of myself (for myself) became a very important task to meet the expectations I thought were upon me (whoa… more on that later, too). During college, I was an RA for two years, worked part-time at the on-campus bookstore, and was all but hell-bent on finding my career once I was out. Six months after my graduation date, I found my way into the job that led to my 11 year corporate career.

Now I find myself in a place of opportunity and freedom, and find myself fighting to allow flow (rather than expectations of “productivity”) to take me from day to day. So, on that Thursday, two weeks ago, when my love called and said “want to go to the coast and go mushroom picking with me? I’m done early!” my first reaction was, shockingly, “No!” I had made plans for myself for perhaps the third day in a row that week, and felt I was on a productive streak. I didn’t want to lose the momentum. But, deep down, I knew this was the wrong time to say ‘no’ so I took a deep breath, talked about why I felt the way I did, and conceded. “Of course, I’d love to go with you. What does this trip entail?”

He explained to me I would love the place we were going, and I am happy to report, I did find it extremely rewarding.

I was met with unexpected beauty…

The forest was slightly damp and mist closed around the trees, but we were protected in the deep green, mossy alcoves, and even remained dry within clearings, by the high canopy of evergreen branches above. We hiked through grand, open spaces with soft footing and lanky tree trunks, and ducked under heavy bushes with lacy spider-webs. We went so far uphill that, overdressed as I was, I started to overheat. Willing myself to cool down, my man offered me the option to stop and wait for him, and that he would be back in ten to fifteen minutes.

Unfortunately, we had moments before stepped over a large pile of bear scat, and there was NO way I was sitting alone in the forest where bears are concurrently hunting for huckleberries!

Heck NO. I’m coming with you!

So, I found myself scrambling and closely watching the carpet of moss for any available reason to stop (aka. mushroom sightings) and whenever an orange speck caught my eye, I paused to investigate.

I am happy to report, we had a successful adventure and returned with a small reward for our efforts in our cache.

these were not the mushrooms we were hunting
(hedgehogs and chanterelles)
but they sure are gorgeous!

This man is showing me a new way to live.

In my overly-adrenaline (and caffeine) fueled previous life in a corporate career, productivity and “getting sh*t done” outside of the office were the foundation of what made me a good person. Now, I am encouraged to slow down, feel into what resonates for me, and follow my heart when I choose projects or focus my attention on different tasks.

I really want to share more of my transition story with you (left my job, fell in love, and moved to a new town!), but haven’t yet been able to put it into words. Now that summer is over, and life is settling into the quiet rhythm of hibernation and winter, a message is forming. More to come soon.

I think we all need a little more peace and forgiveness for ourselves to be patient during this time of growth.

What changes have you experienced this year?

I’d love to hear from you about your experience. Let me know in the comments below!


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