Why I’m doing what I’m doing


Are you stressed? Aggravated? Fed up? Worn out?

Call Annie Parsons – the Bullshit Exterminator.

This is what one of my beloved co-workers called me today – a moniker I proudly accept.

Listen, life is too much these days. I’m inordinately stressed at work. I’m in the midst of an insurance battle over my roof. I cannot for the life of me get a single lawn service company to call me back. Foxy came back from our weekend backpacking trip with a “small wound” that had to be treated at the vet. Projects just keep not getting finished. My inbox is overflowing, my patience is dwindling, and today, I couldn’t take it anymore.

Shaky rage-voice was used. Emails went flying. I put my foot down. I took action. In essence, I exterminated the bullshit.

I am *thisclose* to teetering off the edge – so it’s a good thing that I leave on the Colorado Trail in just 12 days. I am so ready – so so so so ready – to close my computer.

Am I ready to be alone in the mountains for over 4 weeks? Who knows. But it’s happening – and it’s happening soon.

To be clear, my lack of emotional bandwidth is not solely about my job. For most of us, work is stressful – I’m not unique in this regard. It’s about so much more than work.

The further I grow into being a so-called grown-up, the more I feel myself bucking against the absolute nonsense that “adulthood” tends to bring with it. Some days I feel that I’m losing the person that I once was, the person that I want to believe that I still am, the one with dreams and passions and gumption and guts. I love Annie the Risk Taker. What happened to her? She’s been bound and gagged by what others have told her is “reality”: worst case scenarios and doomsday forecasts and fiscal cliffs and snowballs of disppointment and never, ever getting your hopes up.

But I know better than that.

It’s time to steal my life back. It’s time to remember all of the things that used to make me come alive, that used to make my heart skip a beat.

Who knows if walking alone into the mountains is the way to do it? But it seems worth a shot.




  1. Kendall Ruth on June 16, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    Annie, there is no “back” in this journey. You aren’t going to get back to who you were, but you do have the invitation into who you are.

    Having spent a cumulative year+ backpacking (much of the same route you are doing) the only option is going forward into the unknown and whatever the hell it is G is trying to get through your knuckle headed brain.

    So make it a bit easier on yourself and let yourself be willing to say yes to whatever is ahead and only look back when G says so.

  2. hootenannie on June 16, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Love your perspective, Kendall.

    INDEED – forward, into the people that we are going to become, which deep down is really the same people we’ve always been. Sometimes we just need to clear the clutter a bit to remember.

    (Okay but seriously, where did you spend a year+ backpacking?)

  3. Peg Achterman on June 16, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    I don’t think Annie-the-Risk-Taker is gone. Far from it. Sometimes I feel the same way – I’ve been in my house now for – gulp – almost 20 years. It makes me feel a bit staid. I might have to go skydive this summer.

  4. Kendall Ruth on June 17, 2014 at 3:42 AM

    Between my years guiding in Colorado, Wyoming, New Zealand, and the Dominican Repubic plus other trips into the Backcountry, they add up to over a year sleeping under the stars…just not all at once.

    Hoping to get some more in this summer too!

  5. Jess Peoples on June 17, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    Annie, you will always be an awesome adventurer. I can’t wait to hear all about your journey. I’m SO jealous. Just read the book WILD and found myself totally absorbed in it. Not that this is going to be that sort of hike (I’m sure you’re better prepared than she was), but this is such a great opportunity to take a challenge, grow, and bond with nature. You better post some pics! Thanks for the inspiration today.

    Wish you the best!

  6. Leah on June 17, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    As always, you have a way with words. I’d comment more, but each post you write…I just stand in agreement. You say it so much better than I can even begin to. I love that you’re doing this. I’ve been feeling too the way you described, so it was really encouraging to read today. Thank you for that, and I can’t wait to read about your grand adventure : )

  7. Leigh Kramer on June 17, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    I’m so excited for your adventure to begin. This is good, much-needed inspiration.

  8. Codi Yeager on June 17, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    Hi Annie! Just wanted to say I am copying the paragraph ” the further I grow..” and plastering it in my mind, on my mirror,going to text it to myself daily…This is my daily struggle- I miss Codi the risk taker and I’m ready to “steal back my own life”. Just wanted to say your words. ..nay your actions are encouraging to me and thank you for that.

  9. Michael on June 17, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Words to live by, dear Annie…for you and for me. I’m in the process of stealing my life back, yet again…living, loving, being the person I want to be. “Adulthood” sucks. So this year I grew my hair out (when my ponytail is long enough, I’m donating it), pierced my ear, got ordained online, and performed a wedding for the first time. The last, an event that moved me more deeply and profoundly than ever I would have guessed, underscored the value of letting go and letting God. I kid you not. God works through online ordination services. I’m laughing out loud as I type this, because it’s so true and bizarre. Praying for you.

  10. Beth on June 17, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    Kick the bullshit in the pants, and enjoy the ride! We only live once. (And there’s only so much bullshit a person can take in this life. A little sabbatical is WISDOM.)

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