“I’d like to think the best of me is still hiding up my sleeve…” -JM

I’m  t w e n t y  t h r e e .

When I was 17, I remember hoping and praying that at 23 I would be similar to Tristan Prettyman, living life and singing about all things beachy and poetic.

Now that I’m here, it’s almost surreal how good my life is. And sometimes I take it all for granted. I guess that’s what I’m hoping this year will accomplish. In 7 months I will no longer be 23. I’ll move onto the next year, just as all people do when their birthday arrives, and I’ll kiss goodbye the one year that existed in my life where I had set a goal to discover.

I’m determined not to let myself down.

The past five months of being 23 have been pretty damn good. I feel like I’ve stepped into the shoes that I had always imagined myself walking in, strutting proudly for all to see. It’s a journey, and it’s not over yet.

In exactly 40 days I will be venturing out west to enjoy a different part of the world. The bonafide beach girl has agreed to strap on her snowboard for more than one day at a time and spend a week in 30 below weather. Of course, only someone that I am totally crazy about could get me to do such a thing. But I’m doing it, and I couldn’t be happier.

I wanted to go to Costa. Like, refused to give in, looking up the cheapest flights, finding shacks to stay in, trying to figure out where the best shore and reefbreaks were. I was going through my bikinis and buying sunblock. And then I had an epiphany.

I’m not a big believer in the “lightbulb” going off. Even if I try to be, I mull over things for days and rarely have a spontaneous moment unless it involves throwing down a credit card for a new pair of shoes or yet another hoodie or flannel that I absolutely do not need.

But I thought about how blessed and lucky I am and how so many people don’t get to enjoy the amazing experiences that God has bestowed upon me. I have a beach right in my backyard. I grew up wearing a bathing suit and was applying sunblock long before healthy-skin became a fad. I was digging for sandcrabs while everyone else was planning their summer vacation to the shore.

I’ve been to just about every Caribbean location I can think of. I’ve seen some pretty amazing shorebreaks. But I haven’t seen any of this country.

Yes, it may sound corny. But it’s true and I am confident enough to admit it. When in my life will I have another opportunity like this? Probably not anytime soon. When will I get to spend twelve hours on a beach with nothing to do and no where to go? Anytime I want.

So I sent that someone a link to an amateur ski movie that I found on YouTube and said, “Alright, alrighttttt. I’m in.” We’re still in slight disagreement about what sport goes harder – surfing vs. skiing – but I have a feeling that I will be winning that one shortly.

So the countdown begins. The shopping and the anticipation have bubbled up and are overflowing inside of me. I’m not sure what I’m more excited – seeing the panoramic views, spending time with someone, actually snowboarding for more than a day at a time, eating new foods (I hear elk and bison are AMAZING), drinking pints at high altitudes, or being able to take so many new photos.

Either way, there’s something pretty romantic about the idea of being able to stay in a cabin and cuddle up by a fire each night. 🙂

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