Bucket lists aren’t my thing. I would rather look forward to something purely for the joy it gives me in doing so. When it arrives—whatever it might be—I try to embrace it wholeheartedly and with a sense of wonder.
In looking ahead to a certain birthday this year where I would turn 40 + 10, I knew I wanted to do something significant to mark the occasion. My 40s were hijacked by turmoil and trauma as our entire family navigated my son’s life-threatening illness, and I desperately wanted to claim something for myself.
For years I have longed to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, the pilgrimage route in Spain known in English as the Way of Saint James. Since my husband will also be reaching the half-century mark this year, I talked him into joining me on the journey.
Next week we begin our hundred-mile pilgrimage through the Galicia region of Spain.
Have I prepared and trained vigorously?
Hmmm, kind of.
Am I ready?
As much as I will ever be.
The truth is that my heart and soul are more than ready. My body, especially my legs and feet, will just have to follow along. The Camino can be a spiritual journey. Some do it just for nature, fun, hiking, or the extraordinary sights. Yet regardless of their motive, pilgrims from all over the world inevitably discover what is true for them. And what is true for me is that I am eternally grateful for the diverse community I have built these last 50 years (there, I said it!). I am claiming the next 50 years as an opportunity to reinvent myself.
I’ve already started the journey. In addition to wife, sister, daughter, friend, artist and mother, I call myself writer and storyteller. Practicing this new art is what brings me much joy.
Thank you for joining me on this incredible journey!
P.S. Look for more Letters from the Coop as I send short little notes from the Camino!
Kristin Jarvis Adams is a public speaker and advocate for children with special needs, helping to bridge the gap between the outside world and the inner world of autism. Her speaking engagements have included: Seattle Festival of Trees Gala, a benefit for Seattle Children’s Hospital and The Seattle Children’s Autism Clinic. Learn More>>