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Monday Funday: Crying On A Rock. And Creating Your Own Adventures.

Crying On A Rock. And Creating Your Own Adventures.


About two months ago I found myself crying on a rock at some beach along the California coast, next to a guy named Kiel. It was the second official day of my solo road-trip, in which I had decided I was going to go it alone, to discover things about myself and life that I wouldn’t discover in any other way. At this point in the trip, I had imagined that I’d be driving down the highway with the wind blowing in my hair, the warm California sun kissing my skin, and the perfect song playing on the radio. Instead, in this moment, I was on a dirty, overcast beach, with a guy I didn’t know and wasn’t sure that I really wanted to be talking to.

I met Kiel the night before at my camping spot for the night, Jalama Beach. It was one of the last weekends before kids went back to school, so the campsite was filled with families and partiers trying to get the last of what summer had to offer. It wasn’t exactly the serenity I had imagined when I set out on my trip, but it was the only site for 100 miles that had spots available. I parked my van in an open spot, and was surrounded by people. Everywhere. Kids, teens, families…it seemed everyone in the world was there, with their loved ones. Elaborate camps were constructed, RVS were decked out, and people were everywhere. And then in spot number 17 was me, my van, and my dog. Still a sight to be seen apparently, since we were chatted up by almost every passerby.

“Big dog you got there!”

“Ey mami…you all alone in there? You should come party with me and my homies in our RV” (points up on the hill where there is a fleet of RVS parked next to one another, blasting Top 40 hip-hop)

“You got a saddle for that thing?”

I smiled, pretending like I haven’t been asked those questions every day since I adopted my dog, and headed toward the beach for some quiet and exercise.

Within 30 feet of being on the sand, I came across a group of guys throwing a football around. One stopped to ask about my dog, and we ended up in a short conversation about Coach, my travels, and his travels. Kiel was his name, and so I say it was nice meeting him and I continued along the beach.

Upon returning from our walk, I saw Kiel, right where I left him. And in his hand was a piece of paper with his name and phone number on it, in case I wanted to stop at his farm in Oregon when I passed through. I smiled, thanked him, and went along my way.

It was a restless night’s sleep, for both me and Coach, but we woke up early nonetheless, and started on our way. We didn’t have a plan for the day or the night. I just knew we were going to drive along the coast. About 45 minutes into our drive, I see a funky truck pull up beside me, and in the driver’s seat is Kiel. He waves me over to follow him, and I figure “what the heck! ADVENTURE!!” and so I follow him five miles down the freeway, and off the highway. I wonder where he’s leading me. I imagine grand adventures; perhaps his favorite hole in the wall Mexican joint that just happens to have the best tacos in the state, or a secret lagoon that no one knows about. But instead he led me to this crowded, smelly, dirty, overcast beach. A well-known surf spot he wanted to check out, apparently.

We walked along the beach, chatting about our travels and our families. I knew he was hitting on me, but I wasn’t interested. I was still in a sensitive place, having just left someone I cared a lot for by going on this trip, and was wanting to be alone. Eventually, we ended up on a rock. Talking. Which led to being on a rock, crying. It wasn’t anything he said, really, but tears just started pouring down my face.

I wasn’t exactly sure why I was crying, and I didn’t even know if I was sad. I suspected it was a mix of emotions of being all alone on the road, not being sure what I wanted or where I was going, being on an overcast beach when I wanted to be driving on a sun-kissed highway, wondering when I’d be in a relationship again, where I would end up and what was in store for me on this trip and in my life.

But of course I couldn’t quite express any of those complex emotions at the moment. And so Kiel gave me a hug. We both looked towards the ocean, I continued crying, and eventually we both went our separate ways.

I heard a theory recently that all change is experienced as loss; that all change, no matter if it’s good or bad, or change you want or don’t want, has the same emotional response that a loss would have. In thinking about this theory, and my day spent crying on the rock, I became curious. “What if this was true? What if change does equal loss in our minds?”

Even though I was on an adventure that I was excited and happy about, it was a big change for me. Everything was different than anything I had done before. I was alone, I was the only one responsible for my decisions and experiences and happiness, I had no plan or destination. I didn’t even really have a time frame. I didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing. And things were changing in every aspect of my life.

Perhaps, on this rock, I was grieving the loss of everything I had previously known. All the iterations of people I previously was. All the experiences that had come before. And the loss of life, as I knew it, because deep down, I knew this trip would change my life in profound ways.

So when Kiel asked “what’s wrong?” and I said “I’m not sure really,” it was true. In that moment. Because it wasn’t just one thing; and nothing was really wrong. I was just experiencing intense emotions of change and loss, mixed with excitement and anticipation.

I never called Kiel when I went to Oregon, but meeting him was an interesting and appropriate kick-off to my adventure. Looking back now, it set the tone for everything. I’m glad I followed him off the freeway and ended up crying on a rock. It was real. It was where I was at, and I was forced to pay attention to the emotions that were coming up because I decided to do something different and out of my comfort zone. I created this adventure on purpose, because I wanted to learn some things about myself. And the learning still hasn’t ceased.

And with that, this is what I came away with: When there’s no adventure, create it. And when there is adventure, follow it. Where you’ll end up, you won’t know, but that’s never the point. It’s the experiences in between the destinations that get written about, that change your life, and that grow you beyond what you knew possible. So, just journey on, and when it gets to be too much to handle, find a rock and cry on it.

What do you think about the idea that “all change is experienced as loss?” Have you ever felt anything similar? What do you experience when there is a lot of change in your life? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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10 Responses to Monday Funday: Crying On A Rock. And Creating Your Own Adventures.

  1. Another beautiful post beoo. Yes, I am definitely realizing this, about all change experienced as a loss. I think we do need to give ourselves time to feel whatever we are feeling as a way of honoring the recent experience/change. I also relate to the grieving the previous version(s) of myself. Actually, I think my old self knows it needs to die (so to speak) in order for my new self to emerge and that is why there is so many mixed emotions. My old self is like “I’m not going down without a fight!” All I am doing is staying present and in flow, through the smooth waters or the choppy waters. Love you! Proud of you!

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hahhahah! I love the comparison with the old self and new self. It’s like the most epic internal battle ever. :) And I agree with you. And love you. Thank you for sharing and for being YOU and continuing to learn and share it all with us so that we can learn. Special lady, you are.

  2. Wes Behrend says:

    All change can be a cleansing experience. It can be viewed as a loss, but there is something to be gained from it as well. For example, moving from one place where one is familiar with everything and everybody to another place that is strange and unfamiliar can be a daunting task. It can be a big change in one’s life and it can lead to that person questioning why he/she made such a drastic choice in one’s life. Sometimes, the loss outweighs the gains in the short-term, but if one perseveres and sees the fruit of one’s labor in making that change work for him/her, the benefits (gains) start to outweigh the costs (loss). It may take months or years for this to happen, but the rewards are worth the wait.

  3. Sally – I really like the comparison of change to loss. It makes sense because when you experience change or loss, you have to adapt, do things differently which can be scary and upsetting, even when you’re the one who has made the change. Even change for the better is upsetting because most of the time, it’s so much easier to just put your head down and keep doing what you’re doing because you’ve made it this far, right?

    The old self definitely does put up a fight, Natalie. I’m sitting on some big decisions myself and I have been stalling. For awhile. Because it won’t just be one thing that changes, it will be so many things at once and it just feels so overwhelming. I’ve made so many changes in the past year or two but they’ve been kind of gradual so I got to work into them, get used to them, experience them, like a new pair of jeans – little weird at first but then a few washings, they break in a little and then, ok, these are great jeans! :)

  4. Björn says:

    Hello Sally!
    I understand what you mean and much of it is true, but not allways. I think sometimes if you have lived in a situation you do not like and finally break free it is not a feeling off loss at all. My time breaking away from the village I went to school in was just as breaking free and I loved every bit off it. But if you break away from a comfortzone to something unknown, it is definitly a feeling of loss. One relation to singel life or vice versa or going from one job to a new one. So I can sure relate to your post but also have another experience of changes… Keep it up and keep smiling! :-)

  5. I’m not sure if all change is experienced as loss. Sometimes you gain things. A friend, a partner..all kinds of things…maybe some loss…the only thing that comes to mind is my old Marine training (and leaving the Corps was a loss, in a way…a loss of the plans I had to be a Drill Instructor and have the honour of taking nasty civilians and making them into Marines, but it also opened the door to do my own thing with Shadow Fire Promotions, too.), and Marines are always addressing change…I leave you with the three words every Marine uses when addressing change:

    IMPROVISE, OVERCOME, ADAPT.

  6. Lisa C. says:

    I love your adventures, Sally.

    Particularly loved this: “When there’s no adventure, create it” (words I live by). But if that’s the case, then you are actually creating CHANGE, no?

    That being said, I believe “all change is experienced as loss” is very contrary to the above. I’d rather say “all change is an experience”.

    Hope that makes sense. And never be afraid to sit on a rock and cry. :)

    xo
    LC

  7. Heather says:

    Hey Sally!!

    Love that I can stop on by your website and catch up with you :)

    I totally agree that we register change as loss. We have to grieve our old selves/old lives/old decisions that no longer fit…because even if a situation/relationship is sucky, there can still be tiny parts of it that are comfortable or even good, and I think it’s hard for us to give up something that is still “a little bit good” for some unknown quantity. It’s scary.

    I am moving back to MN from CA in two weeks, and even though I really didn’t ever love it here and my heart has always been in MN, I am going to miss my clients and my apartment and other little things. And probably in January when I’m freezing my butt off in MN, I’m gonna miss it even more! But I know it is the right thing to do, so I’m choosing adventure!

  8. Violet says:

    Hello Lovely Sally!

    How cool is it that I get to post immediately after my radical sis? I’m loving the synchronicity of us visiting your site just hours apart :)

    You. Are. So. BRAVE. I see all the adventure that you are creating and all the growth you are experiencing and I’m so happy for you. It also brings me face to face with my own fears – fears that have kept me chained to my rock here for the past 3 YEARS NOW. Though I do believe that everything happens for a reason…perhaps I just needed an extra-long spin cycle before hitting on the right time to emerge. The next few months will tell.

    As for “all change is experienced as loss”…something about that seems too absolute, and a little imbalanced towards the pessimistic. I can see how change involves loss, but it also involves new beginnings, gains, and hope. I prefer to see it as “change is LIFE” – when we stop changing, we cease to be ALIVE. This sometimes helps me through my fear of change, because I know in my heart that the TRUTH is that the LIFE on the other side of change is always more right than the one lived cowering in fear, and not changing due to fear is just a way of trying to control the uncontrollable. At war with reality :)

    Much love and WARM wishes to you in the mountains of MT!
    xoxo,
    V

    • Sallyhope says:

      I know! It was like a warm, sisterly hug from you two. And per usual, I think you’re right on with your intuitions about your life. I look at it like an oven that’s been pre-heating this whole time. It’s getting warmer and warmer and warmer until finally it’s really ready to cook something. And not a second before. You’ll know when the little buzzer beeps. Please do keep me posted on the new plans, as they begin to cook. :)

      I totally hear you about the absoluteness of the statement. I think I look at it more like it’s a phrase that may explain certain feelings. For example, I was really excited to move to Montana. I knew it was right. I felt it in my heart. I had a ton of support and an awesome new apartment and friends to welcome me. But yet, I was still upset, sad, panicked, making myself sick. It was confusing. Until I pondered this idea. I don’t think loss is a bad thing. At all. It’s kind of like shutting the door so that another can be opened. I don’t look at it like “losing” something, but rather, that it registers in the body as a loss and that explains why I’m so freaked out, even when I’m happy and can’t wait. Either way…fascinating idea and fascinating discussions. Thank you so much for sharing.

      Love you,
      Sally

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