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It’s the end of the year, and what a year it has been. Regardless of whether you’ve had a great year, or a bad year, or anything in between, you can’t deny that this year has been one for the record books. I, myself, have experienced a wide spectrum of ups and downs throughout the year. Thankfully, I’m finishing strong and am having the time of my life. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s still a ton of crap to wade through, and there are still days when the world seems to be against me. But I ain’t about to let it get me down. I’ve still got plenty to be thankful for and excited about.

I took a day this past week to hit a familiar trail at the Peaks. That’s my solace. The mountain is where I feel the weight of the world fall away, my soul replenished, and my thoughts begin to take shape. Everything seems clearer up there. Problems become smaller, and my outlook on life grows brighter. Time slows down, and everything simplifies. With the world seemingly exploding in rage, and Everytown, USA feeling more and more like Crazytown, USA, I’ve learned the best way to regain perspective and renew my bearings is to venture into the woods. Taking a day, or more, to remove myself from the noise of everyday life, turn off the news, ignore social media, and shut my phone down is a requirement. The simple things, the ordinary, the natural, these are what help me regain my balance and restore my sanity.

Albert Einstein said, “Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.”

One of the world’s most brilliant minds understood the dangers that accompany unbridled pursuit of success and accumulation of things. There ain’t nothing wrong with having nice things, but to whom, or to what does your heart belong? What widens your eyes? What awakens your mind?

Embrace the mundane, the simple, the quiet. Pursue relationship over publicity. Foster community rather than contention. Seek wisdom over entertainment. 

I’ll leave you with one more quote from one of my favorite authors.

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

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