2020 and Hope for the Next Decade

I’ve talked a lot about the last decade in various ways for the past couple of years so I won’t go into that again on here. This time, I want to look forward and see where I want to end up. Well, not “end up” because that implies I’ll be done or I’m finished moving in this life and I actually never, ever want to feel done. I don’t want this journey to end. Feeling comfortable and at peace? Sure, of course. Also, saying stuff like “end up” is what 2010 Kevin would say because his understanding of life at that time was so limited and the scope of his world was so tiny.

I never want to just “end up” somewhere. So, where do I go from here? I feel like after having such a rough 2019, the universe or whatever/whoever is in charge made sure I would absolutely have an amazing and unexpectedly good end to the year and this decade. I want to keep that wave going. Because life is always a series of waves and they will contain good and bad stuff and it won’t be fun and it will also be so incredible and life-changing. Those waves will always be there. I just need to continue learning how to ride them better.

I want to keep hiking and keep expanding on that in every way possible. I want to learn more about the history and geology of the areas I am exploring and continue spreading the word about how neat being in the woods and mountains and canyons is. I also want to do my part in making the outdoors as accessible;le as possible to all the people, not just able-bodied white middle-class folks. I got a good first step in with Wild Westendorf but 2020 will be the year I start getting a bit more “professional” with it and try some new things and I know parts of it will fail but I also know parts of it will succeed so much better than I could have imagined. Some of my favorite moments has been when someone has reached out to me saying they’ve learned a lot about a particular area because of one of my posts or that they were inspired to go for a hike after feeling intimidated by such a thing and so on. It fills my heart up with love and excitement when this happens!

I’ve created a list of items I want and need to make this happen better. I’ve already started with some baseline equipment and the software I’ll need and have been self-teaching how to do this video-editing stuff. I still need to get a better camera and a GoPro then I’ll be all set to do what I want and need to so I can get the good word out there about hiking and the outdoors. This is a passion project of mine and something I’ve really enjoyed so far and it keeps me excited every day just thinking about the future and possibilities this all entails. Yes, I want to start some actual “vlogging” even though I hate that word, haha. This will be the year I can finally do a lot of stuff with Wild Westendorf that I’ve been wanting and hoping to do since its inception.

I want to do more group hikes. I did a really fun and successful one for this past July 4th with a large group of well over 20 people and they all seemed to have loved it! For many of them, it was a new place and a new hike or their first hike in years. It was so thrilling seeing how much they enjoyed that experience and I want to create more of that for my friends all over the place. It genuinely gives me joy like no other when I see the joy that others have from the outdoors.

I want to explore places that are further and further away. This includes budgeting better so I can more easily afford plane/train tickets since driving everywhere won’t always be an option. Especially now that I have a passport! There’s a lot in South America and Europe that I want to hike, along with the rest of the world. The southwest United States is limitless to me so I’ll have plenty of road trips to that area, as well. I want to find some truly unique and different trails to do that won’t just be a new hike for me, but it’ll be an experience that I’ll never forget. Much like the way it was with my Grand Canyon experience, I want and need more of those in my life. Doesn’t always have to be a harder and longer adventure than the Grand Canyon, but it needs to be something I’ll never forget. I have a handful of those experiences and want to keep that list growing for as long as I’m physically capable of doing so. I also want to go back to some of the places I’ve been to and revisit them with the new and different perspective my eyes now have. It’s been a little over ten years now but I will still “talk” to my dad on most hikes I do because it makes me feel like he’s there right next to me. That’s an accidental habit I formed a few years ago and I’m glad it happened and I intend to keep it a regular aspect of my outdoor adventures.

I think I have my next BIG HIKE in mind and it’ll require a lot of planning and I’ll likely need to not do it alone for safety and sanity reasons. I’m hoping I can accomplish this within the next year or two. Once I figure everything out, you know I’ll be obnoxious with how much I will talk about it. Hell, I know I’m obnoxious with how much I’ve talked about the Grand Canyon and Mexico! Sorry, not actually sorry.

This next decade, my closest friends will have kids who are getting older and you know, you KNOW, I am so excited to take those kids on hikes and I hope I can help spark a love for the outdoors in them at a young age so it doesn’t take 25 years like it did for me. Hopefully I’ll have a little hiking buddy of my own by the end of the decade.

Speaking of kids, and this is entirely out of my control, I know, but I hope I’ll be able to start a family this decade. I’m not in a huge rush for it. Yet. It’s just being a father is something I’ve always wanted. Sure, I’ve had years where I was unsure if I really wanted to be a dad, but too many feelings and experiences tells me that it’s absolutely something I want to happen someday. Just have to find me a fine honey first!

I’ve talked about this before, how I feel I was cheated out of the experience of having a father. I’ll always cherish the time I did have with my dad before cancer took him, but his time in my life and on this earth was too short. Way too short. I want to make up for that by giving my future kid(s) what I didn’t have. I want to be everything for my kids that I couldn’t have. I want them to grow up and grow old with their dad. Again, I’m not in a huge rush just yet. But it’s something I hope will happen within this next decade.

Speaking of, I’m so glad I didn’t have kids the last decade! I needed that time to find out who I am and what I want and need and where I am going. If I had kids before or during that, I don’t think I could’ve been as good of a dad as I would have wanted to be. All the good, the bad, and the bullshit I learned from was so valuable and definitely better informs how I’d want to be as a parent. Obviously, I’ll never stop learning and such and no one will never be a perfect parent even if they wait until they’re almost too old to have kids. I know I’ll be far from perfect. But my experiences from the last decade will hopefully help me be smarter and better about what I do going forward into this next decade with whatever role I do occupy. And if I don’t start a family? That gives me a lot of thoughts and it’s something I’ll have to write about at the end of this decade if that happens. In the meantime, I live a pretty rich and fulfilling life with lots of love surrounding me so I’m okay with still waiting for this all to happen.

A little over four years ago, I left my last job with no real plans except for a goal to work at a non-profit. After an excruciatingly long amount of time, I found a job at a local non-profit that does amazing work. I’ve quickly moved up (THREE PROMOTIONS IN THREE AND A HALF YEARS! HELL YES I AM BRAGGING!) and finally feel at peace in my new position I just got. I see myself there for a long time and feel really good on the path I am in within that organization. I sincerely hope I can say I am still working there at the end of this new decade because that’s how much I love it there. Now that I feel like I have my professional life sorted out, it gives me more time and energy to pursue so many different things in my personal life like Wild Westendorf. But I want Wild Westendorf to be the first thing I do, so keep on the lookout for some future projects I have in mind.

I never want to stop meeting new people and making new friends and fostering the current relationships with those I hold near and dear to my heart. They’ve showed up for me big time and I want to make sure I am authentically showing up for them at every possible opportunity, too. They deserve that.

Writing is a big thing I want to do more of. I’ve loved writing and blogging and all the related things since I was a kid. I used to write things much more frequently but have fallen off of that for the last couple years and I want to get back in that habit, especially on my personal blog and the Wild Westendorf website. So, expect to see more of that this year. Oh! It’s been well over a decade since I wrote any fiction. My last attempt was this huge novel-in-the-making that I still have saved on a CD somewhere. I lost interest in finishing that but I want to take a stab at writing fiction again, but more in the form of short stories instead of trying to do a giant novel. I also have a big idea for a script for an audio-drama podcast so, again, keep on the lookout for that.

I need to learn how to be at peace with my own silence. I am very good at being alone but not very good at being alone with my thoughts. I always feel like I have to distract myself or be busy and if I’m not constantly doing something, then I am failing. Failing at what? I have no idea! I know it’s okay to calm down and take things slowly and all that if that’s what life currently has in store for me but I just need to learn how to do that, you know?

So, this isn’t really a strict list of goals as I don’t believe having a list is helpful as life is unpredictable and it’s much easier for me to be hard on myself and hurt my own feelings if I don’t check off every item. These things are hopes and dreams of mine, building upon a foundation that I’ve set down and allows for more opportunities and surprises to come my way. I know there will be hard times, impossible-to-process feelings, failures of my own and failures of those around me, but I also know that great experiences and feelings of pure happiness and successes of my own and successes of those around me will far outweigh everything else I will experience this next decade. I just refuse to allow myself to stop growing.

Let people know you love them and thank you for being on this journey with me.