I will be honest.
I’m not completely satisfied with ‘who’ I am. I am happy with what I’ve accomplished, which isn’t much but it’s all relative to what you have to begin with and what you’re options are as you go along. I am grateful for many things – again, all relative. But I could be a happier person with myself if I was…well, different.
That’s only one of the reasons I want to backpack the AT. My dissatisfaction with myself right now is probably the main reason to go on the AT journey. I feel that the challenge of the AT will transform me ~ I have a fantasy that I will emerge from Katahdin a ‘new woman’. The whole experience of spending six months hoofing it through the woods in pouring rain day after day, hiking under the beating sun with sweat pouring off my body, climbing mountains over roots and rocks, enduring aching joints, blisters, chaffing, mental and emotional fatigue, smelling my own reek wearing the same clothes in all kinds of weather, week after week, month after month thinking of food all the time ~ well, it seems to me that it would strip me down to my raw, bare self…what I am really made of. Right?
Some might inquire: well, if you’re not happy with who you are why not take a class or change your job or make new friends, a new hobby, volunteer somewhere??? All good ideas but my whole point is that it’s not just my job or my hobbies or how I spend my spare time or what my interests are…it’s all of the above. It’s taking the hobby that exhilarates me, quitting the job that devitalizes me, traveling that interests me, making new friends that stimulates me and pushing my mind and body that strengthens me!! That’s what I need, a mega-dose of taking all that is good and saturating myself in it while simultaneously breaking down all my comforts zones and seeing what emerges.
It’s the challenges in our lives that make or break us, that mold us into ‘who’ we are and although the AT is a chosen challenge it’s still one that most people quit because it’s hard. It’s hard to endure the strain on your body, the separation from friends/family, the hunger, the ‘injuries’, the elements *oppressive heat, cold, wet, sleeping on the ground or from a hammock, mosquitoes, black flies, ticks, snakes, bears, etc.* and you really can’t escape from any of these unless you get off trail for a night or two. It’s also hard to endure the mental game: when you are at your lowest and wondering “why am I doing this?”, it’s hard to not give up, to continue to push yourself because it’s a goal that you, for whatever reason, set for yourself.
I’m hoping that when I’ve ‘bagged’ that final mountain on the Appalachian Trail while carrying 35 pounds on my back for 2,168 miles I will have transformed into a stronger woman who is more self-confident, willing to take chances, patient and energized and ready to tackle a new chapter in my life ~after a shower, some good food and sleeping in a bed.
Daily Prompt: Mountain, Transformation