A thin layer of snow enveloped me in the Arctic breeze. I let out a frosty sigh looking at the glacier before me. The sun twinkled on the surface of the ice and snow. I stared quizzically at every crevasse, snowflake, and twisted crag in sight hoping to find answers.
Hoping to find myself.
Most days, I hardly recognize myself. The days begin early and are long. My work focuses on finance and spreadsheets. For a long time, I was terrified of managing money. In my family, there was a lot of negativity toward finances and earning potential. So for many years, it was a big mystery to me.
Yet here I was, a registered representative in Manhattan. It took so much work and dedication to achieve. I sacrificed time in nature, my hobbies, my art, and my writing.
Much of my studying kept me indoors, longing to be somewhere else.
I achieved a great professional goal and faced a fear, but was it at the cost of everything I enjoy?
The calming beauty of the glacier allowed my mind to relax. As I climbed Sólheimajökull, I thought about the passage of time.
I looked back at all the things I had learned, fought for, lost, and forgotten:
There were so many times I felt my heart stand still with sadness; times when I felt a crushing frustration that froze me to the core. There were times when I didn’t know the way forward; times when I thought I couldn’t go on. I am no stranger to the bitter rawness of defeat.
And then, I started over. Again. And again. Hiking up the ice and volcanic rock, I overheard someone talk about the cycles of glacier. The ice advances and retreats. The boundaries and structure of the ice changes based on the environment. There are years where the ice recedes, almost whispering that this place will disappear because of external events. Then, there are years when the conditions are just right for growth and restoration. The glacier is never exactly the same as the previous day. Certain features may not be recognizable through the years. Yet it retains it’s identity despite the constant changing.
The Arctic breeze swirled around me, caressing my face. I smiled, looking down to where my feet touched the ground. Sólheimajökull gave me the answer I had been seeking. I was like the glacier. Always changing, influenced by the environment and cycles. But somehow, still me.