Well, I haven’t written in a while, but I’m back at it! I was having foot issues, then came down with a cold, so I chilled out in Franklin for several days (just in case it was more than a cold). I was feeling a bit defeated since I felt way behind schedule, but my hiking partner reminded me that I needed to focus on the present and do what I needed to do.
Life Is So Weird
My first night back on the trail, I had a weird dream. In this dream, I was living a different life. When I awoke this morning, I started thinking about how different life can be with the smallest of decisions. How at each fork in the road, we can find ourselves living a dramatically different reality from the one we find ourselves in. In my dream, I was living somewhere in Europe, surrounded by different people, learning sign language. It made me think about the decisions I’ve made up to this point. Where would I be if I chose a different career, a different school, a different significant other? I thought a lot about this as I walked today; analyzing major moments in my life that led to this. In analyzing my previous decisions leading up to this moment, this mile, this adventure, I thought about how lucky I’ve been and what an amazing opportunity this hike is, even if I’m a bit behind schedule.
Some decisions are difficult to make; you find yourself facing options: the easy one and the one you think will make your life better. It sounds like a simple enough decision, right? In reality, it’s so much harder to choose the potential for happiness. Happiness comes at a cost, after all. It’s easier to stay in the comfort zone of a mediocre life, to focus on simple pleasures instead of grand ideas. It’s been said a million times over, life is short. How much have you really lived? Have you taken that risk to go for something that truly brings you joy?
Candy for Breakfast? Why Not?
I’m not saying that hiking the Appalachian Trail is a constant festival of joy and happiness; in fact, there are plenty of moments of pain and monotony, but it’s a pain and monotony that I choose every day, interspersed with really cool, motivating, unicorns and rainbows types of happiness. What helps me get through the monotony, is making the choice to keep walking, to have the meditative moments to think about life, nature, cheeseburgers, and whatever the hell I want. I can blast Cher and dance along the trail, drink a beer at 9:30 am because, trail magic, and no one tells me what to do, where to be, or asks me to “please stop singing, it’s scaring the other employees.”
It’s a rare thing to have these moments in life. Not only do you have to create them, but you have to recognize and appreciate them. I don’t have to do this, walk up and down hills all day like it’s my job, but it sure seems a hell of a lot better than the alternative at the moment.
Live Your Life, Friend
If you’re reading this and debating about a decision that you believe will increase your happiness, whether a thru-hike, visiting a dream destination, writing a book, or whatever your little heart desires, just do what you can to make it happen. I guarantee you won’t regret it (I can’t legally guarantee anything, but you get the idea). Live your life, friend.
So, with these thoughts, I press on, continue northbound and try not to stress about my timeline.
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