Second Thoughts and Pre-Hike Blues

I had a plan.  And it was a solid one, too.  I would study for the GMAT while working, apply to PhD programs, quit my job in March to hike the AT with my husband, and then start school when I got back.  Sure, ten years had passed since I took the GMAT for business school, and we have a mortgage, so it’s not like we can just dump our place and wander the East Coast for six months, but still, this was a great plan.

Plan B

Studying was harder than I remembered.  My math skills had severely atrophied in my time away from school.  No biggie. I’d quit my job earlier than originally planned.  I wasn’t happy at work anyway.  I could study and train for the thru-hike in all the spare time I would have now that I wasn’t going into the office.  I lined up a sweet gig doing consulting work.  This new plan was legit.  Way better than my original plan.  This was the plan I should have had all along.  Then my mom got sick.

Plan C

To be fair, she’d already been sick.  Cancer.  But now she was really sick.  Like, “get your ass on a plane while there’s time” kind of sick.  After she passed, I stopped taking the medications I’d been taking for years.  I blamed them for my cognition issues on the test.  The drugs had made me dumb, there could be no other explanation.  And drug free worked out OK for a while—my test score did increase.  I applied to schools and finally started the consulting work I had lined up months before; another thing that hadn’t really manifested like I thought it would.

But that didn’t matter, because we’d be on the trail in the spring and I was convinced everything would fall into place.  The universe was on my side.  The universe owed me this.  Then we found out Mike couldn’t get a sabbatical.  And there’d be no one to take care of the dog, anyway.  That’s OK. I’d do the hike solo.  It would be the adventure of a lifetime.  Besides, I’d be blogging the trip.  It’s not like I’d ever really be alone on the trail.

Plan X

Fast forward four months and countless plan iterations.  I wrote in a previous post that my thru-hike training doesn’t involve walking.  What I didn’t mention is that it’s because I’ve been too depressed to leave the house.  I’m not excited about the hike any more.  Part of me doesn’t even want to go.  The moment that thought passed through my mind was a wake-up call.  The little cricket telling me something isn’t right.  I’ve been plotting and planning this hike for almost a year—the spreadsheet alone would make your head spin, not to mention all the time I’ve spent researching gear and weather and nutrition, etc.  Now, less than three weeks away and I’m thinking about bagging the whole thing because I can’t bring myself to do anything but sit in my chair.

I took action and in consultation with my doctor I came up with yet another new plan.  I’m hanging onto this hike by my teeth and what is left of my fingernails because it is the one thing I have left to hang on to. The thing that has kept me going these long tumultuous months, and I refuse to give up on it.

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Comments 6

  • Jonathan : Feb 23rd

    Depression is a kicker. Good luck, and I hope you find some joy!

  • Robert : Feb 23rd

    Good luck I hope you can put together a plan that works for you. If not an AT thru hike, maybe something on the west coast, JMT or in the rockies like the CO Trail.

  • Cheryl N D'Ambrosio : Feb 23rd

    Re-evaluate what you are bringing to your AT hike, using a set of safety standards. Here’s a link to an article about safety and mindsets. There are other articles online to give you guidance. Take time to see if what you bring to your AT hike is in fact, a safety mindset.

  • Ruth Anne : Feb 23rd

    Hang in there. Sounds like you have had a lot of upheaval recently. That in itself could be a big part of your current lack of desire. The trail will wait for you, and when it’s right, you’ll be ready. Maybe it’ll be in a few weeks, or maybe not. Take care of yourself and be kind to yourself.

  • Alvin : Feb 24th

    I like Robert’s suggestions – sure, you can ‘always’ work up a different idea, start from scratch. Sounds like you’ve planned/planned/got-your-game-hat-on/planned some more on an AT hike. Maybe should just ‘Do It.’ During your down-time, may I suggest Southbounders or Flip-Flop-Flippin? They are both on Amazon for fairly cheap, and great videos. Good Luck! And may you find peace in whatever decision you make. Relax, take these next weeks one-step-at-a-time – you’ll find your answer – and be happy no matter what. 🙂

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