I don’t think G and I were even halfway through our New Zealand wanderings before we were plotting our next adventure. Machu Picchu itself took some time to land on, but the dream was already in place – and there was no question in our minds that we would hike the trail rather than take a bus to the landmark.

When I moved to Colorado, I was astounded and crestfallen to realize that I couldn’t adjust to the altitude above 12,000 feet. For reference sake: the Inca Trail we were looking at gets as high as 13,829 feet. Perhaps I’m a product of my generation, but I definitely assumed that I could do anything I put my mind to. Arguing with my body added to the mental stress I’ve been wrestling with since the day Steve called me and told me that we lost and May’s was going to close.

Fourteen months ago, I picked up the shattered pieces of my first-world life and hid them rather than trying to put them back together.

The last month has been wrought with changes. Both my employer and one of my employees pulled me aside recently: You look so much better, so much lighter.

I already knew that I’d made the right decisions, but then the owner of the company pull me aside to thank me for my work and tell me how good it was that I was pursuing my dream instead of letting myself get pigeon-holed.

I knew I’d made the right decision when for the first time in months, I would roll down my windows and blare Imagine Dragons and Sam Hunt and Usher.

I knew I’d made the right decision when I went to museums because they were something I was interested in seeing.

I knew I’d made the right decision when I found myself at a hippy’s house in Golden, crocheting and talking art.

And I knew I made the right decision when I was able to stand at the top of Pike’s Peak, 14,110 feet above sea level, and didn’t get sick. (Turns out for me, coconut water is the elixir of life.)

My subtitle on my blog for years was “Learning to live, instead of simply not dying.” Somewhere along the lines, I lost that. I lost myself in the mundane. I lost myself into trying to be good enough, worthy enough, cool enough, low-maintenance enough. I started losing the parts of me that made me distinctly me and that made me happy.

I realized that I don’t want to write a blog just about backyard tourism, or just about coffee. I want to write essays and reflections on life. I’m a millennial. We’re so much more than what we’re given credit for – I want to find that, I want to live that. I want to hang out with people smarter than me who can challenge me and my beliefs and assumptions. I want to have an opinion, and not just a passive non-answer. I want to get lost and figure out a path. I want to be free to be me.

A year ago today, I closed down my baby. My coffee shop was my world, and I lost myself without it. It’s time to figure out a path. It’s time to rise from the ashes and rebuild. It may look different from what I expected five years ago, or one month ago, but it will be mine.

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