For Allison

In a week or so, my baby sister is leaving to hike the Appalachian Trail.

Her six-month solo hike will take her from Georgia to Maine, and if all goes as planned, she will arrive before her twentieth birthday.

I couldn’t be more proud.

My sister and I were born five years apart—which is just a big enough gap that we grew up in completely different worlds.

I am impulsive and emotional to a fault, clinging to social situations as if I could not exist without someone to love. She is introspective and independent, the consequence of her situation as a crazy mix of being the youngest child and a faux only child once I left the nest for college.

It is only now that I see the similarities which link us.

Free spirited, self-motivated, loyal beyond belief. We take risks—for ourselves, and for others. And through this, we become examples of people’s “could haves” and “would nevers.”

No regrets, baby sister. I’m always on your side.

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