When Uncontrollables Strike: Facing What We’d Like to Ignore
I’ve been fairly quiet lately. I spent some time away from social media, stopped posting on this blog, and kept my circle of communication pretty tight-knit. It’s been a rough couple of months, and while I am not going to delve into the details in this post, I do want to discuss the reality that potential thru-hikers tend to avoid considering: the possibility of unavoidable obstacles we simply cannot overcome.
Planning a thru-hike is no small task. We spend hours studying maps, writing tentative mileage schedules, testing and planning nutrition, practicing using our gear, and assuaging the fears of loved ones. For the past few months, planning this trip has felt like taking on a third job. I’ve thrown myself completely into this passion project, which has helped to smooth the often tumultuous seas of my life. However, some “uncontrollables” have recently threatened my hike, and I’m faced with the unfortunate reality that my dream may have to wait.
Like I said, I’m not quite ready to share the details of my new reality with a wide audience, but I do at least want to share my process for working through it. My situation certainly isn’t unique. Growing up, my dad always told me, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” It’s true. So much of life lies outside of our control. So for now I’m working with what I’ve got, focusing on what I can control, and holding on to hope while also preparing my heart for more disappointment. If I am able to work around the obstacles and pursue the adventure of a thru-hike, great. If the circumstances in my life put a halt to the plans, I’ll just have to adjust and keep moving forward. It’s all we can ever do.
In the meantime, I’m still engaging in small adventures. I’ll update on my planning progress and share what I feel comfortable and appropriate sharing in the hopes that anyone else facing a similar struggle—the frustration of facing obstacles over which you have no control—can feel some solace in knowing they are not alone. One of my favorite poets, Maggie Smith, advises so simply, “Keep moving.” That’s what I’ll do.
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