REI Adventures trip to Arches and Canyonlands national parks. Hopefully before too long we'll finish processing all of the pictures and publish some of them for your edification. In the meantime, take my word for it that it was a fantastic trip, full of remarkable sights. I also learned a few things.
First of all, you should start getting fit early in life and keep that habit forever. Ten out of twelve of the other people on this trip were older than us, most of them having already retired. All of them were in better hiking shape than we were, and we thought we'd prepared at least an adequate amount. These folks hike regularly for the fitness and fun of it. The life lesson here is that fitness is far more important than most people realize. Don't continue to give it lip service. Make it as important as everything else you do regularly.
Secondly, the people you vacation with are just as important as the destination itself. The folks we met were interesting, funny, and kind to a person. Our guides, Chris and Ashley, worked 16 hours a day to make the trip as enjoyable for us as possible, and they succeeded. Well done, everyone!
Two other interesting things about the trip: one of the guys there was a Joseph Campbell fan, so I got to talk about that with someone. I also nabbed a really neat Chinese poetry book while in Utah, and have been going through that bit by bit. (Aside: Tanya doesn't understand why it's considered poetry, since in Russian there are REALLY strict rules about what can be considered poetic --big surprise! ;) ) Both of those reminded me that I need to spend a little more time extending my spirit (as well as my mind and body). Make the most with what you have, then stretch a little farther!
After returning to the real world, I took on the role of "lead/point person" for our development group at work. You might recall that a month ago we had an event that I was struggling to deal with. I still struggle with it, but I'm moving forward at this point. Hopefully my taking this position will keep the really talented technical people solving the hard problems while allowing me to facilitate, coordinate, communicate, and any other "-ate"s that are necessary to help make us successful. I'll still do technical stuff too, but probably not as much as the other devs.
Another good thing that we discovered last week is that we're closing deals at work that will keep cash flowing. While these deals aren't moving our product offering forward much, they are keeping the doors open and the lights on (so to speak). It sounds like we'll be viable until at least the end of the summer, and very likely the end of the year, if nothing else changes. This might sound scary to a lot of people, but it's actually really good news from a start-up perspective. It gives us runway to sell our products and help define our niche.
I feel better about where I am in this world than I have in a month, and I'm very glad to feel this way. The moral of the story here: remember to live life! All day, every day!