How lucky am I?

 was the thought that ran through my mind as I skied up the mountain on a chilly bluebird morning. The fresh white snow twinkled like diamonds in the sunlight and all I could hear was the swish of the snow beneath my skis. I love the twinkle. It’s so simple, fresh, clean and yet embodies deep profound feelings of gratitude. I am still so ecstatic that I found my way here from a mid-west farming community. I made it happen! Decades later, I still feel the same sense of gratitude and appreciation.

And as I skied up that day, my mind was also racing with activity about the future. You see, I am in a moment and I am overflowing with excitement, anticipation, elation, panic, and gratitude. It’s the end of an era that has been nearly 20 years In the making. So let me just break it down for you:

I’m an empty-nester in a midlife-revival at the end of a laborious 20-year project. Boom!

I’ve looked forward to the end of this project for some time. It’s has been a great run with some incredible highs and heartbreaking lows. I have a love/hate relationship with my boss. We’ve been through a lot; lawsuits, a terrorist attack, multiple market crashes, the great recession, my divorce, his divorce, new developments, and crazy good markets. All in all, the ups and downs have forced me to dig deep, explore ideas and ultimately seek to uncover what makes me happy.

I started a ritual about 3 years ago that gets me up at 5:30 am each morning and I work on myself and my future until 7 am. I launched into a series of educational online classes, self-exploration projects, attended conferences, learned new skills, sharpening some old ones and explored investments that could potentially produce passive income. I read a lot of books. I am ready for this. Bring it on!

Back to the Future

We all have our life-story, crossroads, heartbreaks, curve-balls, and breakthroughs that make up our journey to the present. In my mind, I am finally coming out of that selfless, child-rearing, provider phase of my life and back to being just “me”! The “me” I left behind before kids. I have no regrets, I love my girls and can’t imagine life without them, but isn’t it time to get back to the selfish life that was all about me?

I mean, the opportunities are endless, right?

So who am I? What does Courtney want to do? I have some ideas. I want to go rafting on some amazing rivers I have not yet experienced. I want to camp under the stars and learn night photography. Run a marathon in Zion National Park. I’d like to do a Nordic tour from hut-to-hut in Austria or Italy or Switzerland. I loved Lugano, Switzerland. I’d like to have dinner in Cartagena, Colombia and experience Dia de Muertos in Zapotlandjoe, Jalisco, Mexico. I would like to volunteer my time and skills to help women and organizations such as the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand and Peepal Farm in India. I want to live on the South Island of New Zealand for 6 months. I have been dreaming up my next adventure since the end came into view so isn’t it about time to make it happen? Carpe Diem!

And then insecurity and self-doubt peek around the corner and whisper in my ear, “do you really think you can pull this off?” Oh, I know these two. They have been around for a long time. I have been battling their presence for as long as I can remember, but their persistence has motivated me. For that, I am grateful. So with insecurity and self-doubt needling me, I decided to have a party.


A party. In some ways, that is so “me” to just decide to have a party. Conversely, I will agonize for days or weeks about having a party. I will review dates, themes, costumes and hair pieces, decoration colors, menu items and then decide NOT to have the party. But then without much thought or planning, I will buy plane tickets to Australia/New Zealand with a boyfriend. (That was an interesting trip, both literally and figuratively.)  Buying a car can involve weeks or months of internet research, but the deliberations behind a life-changing move to Breckenridge took just an afternoon drive-by.  For me, those “snap” decisions are trusting intuition and the power of the universe coming together as a team. I’d like to say that all of my “snap” decisions have worked out beautifully, but no. However, there was always a lesson to be learned, an experience to be had, a memory in the making and I don’t regret any of those decisions.

So I am taking this self-transformation to heart and have visions of what it looks like. It’s vague but conjures up feelings of joy, fascination, empowerment, calm, light, passion, and wonder. Josh Rothman said it best in his article, The Art of Decision Making, “The truth, which is harder to communicate, is that you have some vague sense of its value, which you hope that some future version of yourself might properly grasp.”

Fake it till you make it. A River Permit Party. It was a first for me too. The idea, bring together your boater-friends to strategize dates and logistics and then submit applications to the state to be part of a lottery for permits on some of the most amazing river trips in the country. The party was a success and applications are submitted. Now we wait. So do you think the universe has some play into a lottery? Hmmmm…

In the meantime, I am designing my self-transformation with a recipe of intuition, dreams, and authenticity. Making plans and decisions based on my vision of the future.

“Being a well-meaning phony is key to our self-transformation.” Josh Rothman

For me, with any bright, shiny new adventure there is an element of fear. I know fear and it can be all-consuming and gigantic, but It is a choice. You can swallow it, force yourself past it or you can let it completely unravel you.

“It’s so simple; fear will always be there, poised and ready to wreak havoc, but we can choose whether we’re going to engage with it or turn on the lights, drown it out and crawl past it. I also realized that drowning it out is actually pretty easy, we’ve just been conditioned to believe otherwise,” says the absolutely brilliant, Jen Sincero, You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life.

So I gently acknowledge fear, who just happens to be hanging out with insecurity and self-doubt. In reality, their ultimate intent is to protect me and keep me safe. I appreciate that, but most of the time their presence is that of an over-protective helicopter-mom. So I lift my chin a bit higher, take a deep breath and then hip-check them to the side. I choose to charge forward with a sense of curiosity and wonder and think to myself, “let’s just see what happens.”

Enjoy the Climb