Autumn is for Musing, Part II: On Being and Becoming.

Hello beautiful people! I’m excited to write more pieces like this…especially since their themes hint at the overall topics of my book (AAAAAAH!) A subscription to my newsletter means the world to me! While this is a labor of love and (what I hope is) my life’s work, I’m trying to grow my audience and every little bit helps.

This piece was written on October 17 of this year (2023) and is a MUCH more accurate representation of where I am now – the tiny, beautiful life I have built and continue to build; the deeply loving relationship I am blessed each day to be in; and my reflections as I continue to ask: how am I making the most of my numbered days?

It’s that time of year again. A step outside brings cooling temperatures (what relief from Utah’s scorching summer!), the sound of leaves swirling slow across the ground. Overhead, the mountains surrounding my apartment are ablaze with trees turned red and gold, the dark green conifers that carpet the canyon notches a stark contrast. After it rains, I can peer out my office window and catch a glimpse of the coveted “snowliage,” where the tops of the mountains are dusted with powdery snow and yet, further down, the mountainside teems with vibrant life.

The quiet stillness of snow sitting alongside the brightness of autumn leaves. What a beautiful comparison to life-alongside-death, and joy-alongside-sadness, especially now, as we are in the in-between of seasons.

As such, it is easier to become reflective. To contemplate where we were, where we are now, and where we are going. My partner says this time of year makes him reflective and nostalgic and I can certainly agree. And we both agree that this is our best autumn yet – that usually this season makes us both sad and despondent, angry that we haven’t accomplished the goals we have set out to conquer. That usually, we are full of disappointment: at ourselves, at our circumstances, at Life. That usually, we are mourning the losses of friends who are firmly in the rearview mirror, or mourning those times when we felt invincible and light, rather than heavy and defeated.

But this year is not those years. This autumn is different.

For the first time – perhaps in my entire life – I am content.

I am content when I look around the beautiful little space I have curated for myself: complete with a few plants and twinkly string lights and the tiny herb garden I dreamed about on Trail. I am content when I blast down the highway with my favorite music and steal glances at the enormous mountains, which are so vast they don’t appear to obey the law of relative velocity; they stand still, as if they are infinite. I am content when I have cooked a fresh batch of chicken soup and my partner knocks on my door and – literally – sweeps me off my feet. I am content when I am wrapped in his arms, soaking in a hot spring with the stars overhead, or when we egg each other on to send the next bouldering route, or when we climb another high Wasatch peak.

No longer do I count down the days until my next visit to my family, which I now know was a niggling desire to escape the Maryland life that I was quietly insisting was “Enough.” No longer am I made small or insignificant or less-than. Nor do I feel the silently urgent need to out-compete, to perform. I want to do my work now because I want to do it, not because my worth is somehow intrinsically tied to it.

All of these shifts are enormous to me because I am a person guilty of too much DOING. Maybe you can relate.

(I feel like a lot of people can relate) If “being” is the ability to be content where you are, appreciating the tiniest moments within Life and your present circumstances, then “becoming” is its opposite: striving to be and do, to achieve the next goal and check the item off the to-do list. (And it feels suspiciously like goal-posting)

Too much “BECOMING” and not enough “BEING”… that was me. That still can be me if I’m not careful. I like to think I am better than most at simply Being in a moment, but if I’m honest, just because I am comfortable with stillness and silence does not mean I am good at removing the entirely self-inflicted pressure I place upon myself for not “DOING “ enough. Or moving faster with my goals. Or not being “where those people are…” as if those whom I look up to never once started from the beginning too?

And so, this autumn, to be able to recognize and hold my goals while still remaining present is a big deal for me. I am slowly growing better at recognizing moments, at consciously slowing down – at gifting myself unabashed, unashamed permission to slow down – without the accompanying narrative saying I am lazy or not accomplishing “enough” or not doing “enough.” I know I will do those Enoughs, in the right timing. 


And I am slowly seeing progress in those directions, which might be the biggest miracle and paradox of all. Perhaps when one slows their frantic action enough to hear their heart speak, positive change is born.

A list, then, of the things I have done, things (some of which are tangible) that I can look around at and know I have accomplished. Things I can be deeply, truly proud of, instead of pushing myself ever harder:

  • Took a risk that scared me shitless two summers ago: leaving everything behind to hike 900 miles on the Appalachian Trail.
  • Came back and left my destructive 5 year relationship.

  • Decided to pursue a dream I had buried since my teenage years: move out west to chase more mountains.

  • Bankrupted myself in this process and spent the last year (financial hits take a while to recover from, ya’ll; don’t be discouraged when it takes FOREVER) rebuilding my financial stability to where I was before my hike.

  • Began a new, deeply loving, tender relationship that can bring me to tears when I dwell upon how lucky I am to love and be loved by him.

  • Furnished my new apartment and began a tiny herb garden; all things I was daydreaming about doing when I returned from the Trail.

  • Gained clarity on my brand, my business, and my offerings.

  • Invested in myself in several scary, big areas, including hiring a writing mentor to help clarify the ideas around the book I’ve wanted to write for several years.

And in the name of transparency and dispelling the notion that “you can only be happy if good things like that are happening to you,” another list of things I have recently failed:

  • Though I hit one of my savings goals, I am still $5,000 short of where I hoped to be at this time.

  • Planning for tax season is going to be financially tight with very little margin for error or additional spending.

  • Questioning my faith and trying to lean into a new understanding of it.

  • Lost 20lbs off of my deadlift record from falling off my gym habit.

  • Lost a few pounds of muscle/weight as a result of not going to the gym or eating enough.

  • Wondering (floundering on) how to promote and grow my business and organization, Numbered Days.

  • Flew off the handle at my partner (who was very much undeserving of such a meltdown) a few times and discovered I have a decent amount of unprocessed anger that very much needs attention.

  • Struggling to do the “making friends as an adult thing” after moving across the country and starting over.

  • Miss spending time with my brothers, who are still on the East coast.


Lists like these have a way of keeping me grounded. They are an interesting tool for assessing where you are and where you are going. For example, if the content in your first list is much lesser than your second list, then there might be areas in life where you are not going after what you want. Or where you aren’t finding the little joys of the now. There is a subtle difference, and the whole conversation is a lot more nuanced than the cringy and oft-parroted “just count your blessings and be happy!!” dribble.

As I continue to navigate the changing seasons and summer slips further away, I hold close these ideas: of being where I am – fully, right now – and of becoming who I want to be. I can spend an entire lazy weekend with my partner and resist the urge to pepper him with questions like “so what’s the plan?”, echoes of the control-freak self that I left behind on Trail and am trying to leave behind for good. I can (finally) begin work on my book and my offerings and my work, not with desperation but with a quiet contentment in the things I want to contribute to the world.

I can sit outside my apartment, with all my losses and griefs, accomplishments and wins – hand-in-hand. I can take a deep breath of the crisp air, and think, “how wonderful it is, to be alive on this autumn day. How miraculous indeed.”



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I unpack existential topics and ask the questions people are too afraid to ask: What does it mean to Live? Why am I unsatisfied with my life? What is happiness, really? What the fuck is the point?

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