I don’t know a whole lot about astrology. Sometimes I read my horoscope while sitting in a waiting room full of magazines. I remember hearing a term – “Saturn Returns” – a few years back, reading about it, and promptly forgetting about it. Even though I usually feel pretty apathetic in regards to these topics, it can be pretty interesting to read something that seems to perfectly describe your own life events and explain them in terms of the energetic alignment of the stars. I know. It’s some woo-woo hippy shit and I’m not sure I buy it either. But I’m 29 and this apparently is my Saturn Returns (connect link) and I’ll take anything to explain the upheaval that has been the last year or so of my life. Last winter, before I had experienced enough shifts in my life and lessons in astrology to consider paying attention to Saturn, I had planned to spend the month of July in Colorado with a new dude who was showing a lot of potential. We planned trips and adventures and I got so excited as I envisioned us falling in love with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. During the disproportionately painful healing process at the end of that short-lived relationship, I realized that what I was really mourning was the romance of the life I imagined us having. I had somehow convinced myself that he was my ticket to the life of my dreams and I couldn’t have that life without him. That was about the time I turned to the horoscope sections of those magazines. And about the time that I packed up my 2002 VW Eurovan and departed on what I called my Colorado Vision Quest. I had my bike, a few changes of clothes, a cute cotton dress, and a journal. I was set! The month became about falling in love with myself in the Rockies. I was open to any possibility. I had lost my job in Tucson, and thought Colorado might be a great transplant location. So I was open to job opportunities, living opportunities, friend opportunities, and maybe a romance here or there. I wasn’t necessarily on the hunt for any of these in particular, I was just open and ready to receive. The success or failure of the journey was not dependent on any outcome; I just welcomed opportunities if they presented themselves! Through Durango, Buena Vista, Denver, Boulder, Steamboat Springs, Crested Butte, Gunnison, and beyond, I fell deeply in love. With the mountains, the rivers, the trails, and the wildflowers, sure. But most of all, with myself. Every breath I took was full of gratitude. I was proving to myself that I could create the life of my dreams, independent of anything or anyone else. I make my romance, my adventure, my life! Each decision I made was an opportunity to create what I wanted for myself. I even rented a downhill bike and rode the lifts at Winter Park and Steamboat Springs to inspire confidence on and off the bike. My intention was really to fall in love with myself without the male attention that I had gotten used to. Each person I met, whether in a bar, on a trail, or on the side of the highway, was an opportunity to be authentically me. An opportunity to present myself as a fun-loving, bike-riding, van-driving woman who is ready for adventure! I made friends based on a mutual love of enjoying mother nature by bike and celebrating with a beer afterwards. I gained respected for myself as I earned respect from others based on my enthusiasm and skill on the bike. I made choices that supported my journey, and some that didn’t, and learned something every step of the way. I learned that, when the sun hits just right, the side of my van is surprisingly reflective and serves as a full length mirror, and, when my heart is open, I have everything I could ever want or need.