Knowing when to quit

I’ve been tempted; tempted to walk out of work; tempted to say something hurtful and blunt – off the cuff- to someone; tempted in complete frustration and hopelessness to smash something, to slash my thighs, my throat but…I don’t. I keep it stuffed somewhere in the already over-stuffed solar plexus, stuffed to bursting. I say to myself at that time – “breathe, you know this will pass, don’t fuck up”. I do do something, some small thing to make myself feel better in the moment but I am right, I’ve learned, this too shall pass and – it does.

I read some posts on The Trek and feel better about my planned journey. It’s really comical in a way that everything – it seems, everything – I’ve read about hiking the AT is all similar: a personal journey in which you find out what does and doesn’t ‘work for you’ during the journey. That doesn’t leave much absolutism to planning for a six month hike in the woods. All the gear heads have the answers to what you should definitely bring with you and all the grounded tree-huggers know that it’s what’s between the ears not what’s in the pack that will get you through the arduous journey.

The greatest obstacle as far as I can see it: Quitting.

Quitting my job and my life as I know it and step into a great abyss of an unknown. Making sure I have enough funds to pay for all my bills (mortgage, taxes, car and home insurance, utilities, phone) for six months while I do not work and then there is what I spend during my journey. Pushing away the fear of ‘making the right decision’ about leaving everything and everyone I’ve ever known and trekking out in the “elements” (i.e. leaving all known and, thus, accustomed to comforts of daily living for, instead, consecutive days of rain, snow, wet, cold, sweaty, thirsty, achy, hungry days in the woods with varying company of strangers to hours/days of complete solitude). That day isn’t here yet and until IT arrives I will vacillate between “good idea” & “bad idea”.

I’m not tempted to quit the trail before I start. No. I might question the shrewdness of my decision but I am willing to accept the consequences of my actions, which are…what? Being cold, hungry, lonely, hurt, destitute? Well, those are part of living, living even in the rat-race I am currently trying futilely to out-run. What are the benefits of thru-hiking, taking a chance? Freedom, interconnectedness with others in the most organic way, immersing myself in nature, finding my limitations, having an epiphany, experiencing the highest of highs and lowest of lows? Yeah. I’ll take those chances. The way I see it right now, changing my course, … I can’t lose.

Daily Prompt: Tempted

emotional preparation

Driving to work today I felt pretty good about doing the AT’17. Most days lately I’ve felt unprepared, anxious, doubtful and even forgot I was not going to be ‘around’ (at home/work) next year. Today I felt like it was a good idea and I felt that, no matter how unprepared I am (who can REALLY be prepared) that it will be just fine, an experience I will have been glad to have had. I did not have any of the doubtful feelings of the last few weeks. I wish I could determine why some days the idea of hitting the trail on my own for six months seems like a good idea – I’d duplicate it if I could.

Some of the reasons I tend to feel anxious are: what am I going to do with my two dogs? I do not yet have the ‘proper’ equipment (a three-season tent, for example) and I need to make the time to ‘investigate’ and get it. Do I really want to hike the trail, as a woman, alone? These are my three priorities as I try to mentally prepare. There are other “minor” considerations such as quitting my job and what I will do when I return, spending all my savings on doing the trail while still making house and car payments (for these items I won’t be using), and my education credentials to maintain my (professional) license so I can work when I get back to the real world.

I know no one can really prepare for every conceivable problem or situation in life no matter what we are doing and I try to remind myself that, although I want to be as prepared as I can be, there will be events, mistakes, situations, etc that just cannot be known in advance for even the best prepared person.

Most of the blogs I read are positive. Sometimes minor injuries are mentioned, emotional ups and downs, etc. but mostly bloggers seem to be gravitating (writing anyway) toward the ‘good stuff’. I’ve read one blogger had to leave the trail for health reasons but I believe he got back on and one other blogger seriously considered giving up (I don’t believe they did though). I, personally, like to read about the things that are not so pleasant. As a future thru-hiker I want to be aware of the things that you don’t necessarily think of before-hand. We all know that the weather is a factor and minor injuries (blisters, aches) and everyone is constantly hungry. The ‘hardships’ or incidences that befall a thru-hiker and what they did to overcome it is what gets my attention.

Overall….I’m glad to hear about all the good things bloggers have to say…it IS encouraging just knowing that so many continue on the arduous journey despite all that happens or just the emotional roller-coaster of being away from family/friends & comforts.

In the Beginning…

Only because it is not showing up in my “Reader”…I’m reblogging.

ThruHikeR

I’d never planned to hike the AT, never even considered it. Now it’s (almost) all I think about. No, I am not YET a thru-hiker but it’s my intention so it’s what I wanted to use for my blog and it would more likely attract the very audience I am seeking. My purpose for blogging, aside from my inability to suppress the need to ‘talk’ in writing form, is to create a network of ‘followers’/friends/advisers/fellow hikers to participate in my journey in preparation for and while hiking the AT. I’ve noticed there a lot (probably thousands) of bloggers ‘out there’ who are doing the same thing, especially those hiking the AT (I never thought it was so popular to combine “getting back to nature” and 21st century electronic-reality WHILE thru-hiking) and I intend to read/repost/’like’/’follow’, etc. as I find those who I enjoy reading.

I’m going to keep this post short…

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