I realize that the title is a bit titillating. I enjoy having a little fun with words. But the "crack" I'm referring to isn't the crack that probably first comes to mind. :)
I have a "thing" for backpacks. I wish there were a support group or something for people like that, and I'm sure there's an official word for this particular ailment. The reason I mention it is that I am blessed to live within a few miles of an REI store, and recently went to take advantage of their annual sale. Some people get all goopy when it comes to shoes, or purses, or clothes. For me - it's backpacks.
I can't explain it. I've already got several. And of those several, many have never even been used. My opportunities to go on a long enough hike or excursion that would require something as big as I've got only comes along once in a blue moon. I miss my annual adventures with Molly - we used to go to places like Banff National Park in Canada, Glacier National Park, the Wallowa Mountains in eastern Oregon...I have wonderful memories from those trips. She was my adventurous muse.
The good news is that no two of my backpacks are alike. All are different sizes, and manufacturers. After trying several on this past week I ended up with an Osprey. I am making a promise to myself to take at least a couple of long weekends this summer in the mountains between here and Asheville to go hiking and camping this summer.
The problem I'm finding is that time is flying faster and faster - so much to do and so little time. The fact that I qualify for "Senior Citizen" discounts at places like IHOP and Jack in the Box, that consider anyone 55+ to be a "Senior", is still absolutely crazy to me. How can that be? I still feel so young (well, at least most of the time I do). Yeesh. But at this stage of life I find my bucket-list is getting longer rather than shorter.
I have seen a disturbing trend on Facebook lately where "Friends" are dying. I've learned that 3 have passed away in the last ten days. The most unnerving of which is the sudden passing of Matt Kailey. Matt and I shared the podium as speakers at events like Colorado Gold Rush in the past, and his positive attitude and willingness to give left a mark on anyone who knew him. His website, his speaking, his blog, his writing, and his dedication to helping others navigate the treacherous waters of self-discovery feel very similar to my own background and mindset. His passing is yet another reminder to truly appreciate and make the most of each and every day because you never know when you will run out of tomorrows.
Anyway - Matt left his mark on many of us. He lives on in those whose lives he touched. And, he will be missed.
Last year on Memorial Day Monday I flew from Charleston to Nebraska to begin my contract at an Air Force base near there. It was the beginning of a new chapter of my life. In retrospect, it was a unique set of circumstances that brought me there. And, more importantly, I'm glad I went. I met some wonderful people, experienced an area of the country I had never been to before, I really enjoyed my job there. There were 2 problems that became more difficult to deal with. One was winter. The other was the strong pull and need to visit Charleston on a more regular basis.
As I've mentioned before, I've got pretty good balance going on right now. I suspect that something will eventually change things. But for now - I appreciate what I've got rather than dwell on what I don't have. I'm thankful for every day, for my health, for a future that looks bright, for my friends, and for the opportunity to make a difference.