Have you ever gotten an idea stuck in your head and no matter what you do, You just can’t shake it?
I’m talking about 24/7, full time, nothing satisfies, your friends and family are ready to kill you because it all you talk about, obsession.
Surely you know what I am talking about.
I know a few months ago I wrote about following your dreams and spoke about my own dream to hike the Appalachian Trail. It was filled with all the “Go for Your Dreams” mumbo jumbo that you would expect to find in an inspirational blog. (It is actually one of my favorites blogs I wrote 🙂 )
However, I am experiencing one of those periods where the Appalachian Trail is stuck in my head and I can’t shake it.
It is ALL I think about.
- I see White Blazes EVERYWHERE. I’m talking places where white blazes should not be. (White blazes are the indicators that mark the path and show hikers the direction to keep going).
- My Facebook feed is filled with AT sites, stories, and pictures.
- My reading list consists mainly of trail journals, and accounts of others journeys on the trail.
- My wish list is gear, gear, gear.
Most people when they read the blog were like, “Good luck with that!” They don’t understand why I would want to walk 2,189.2 miles through 14 states, from Georgia to Maine. Why I want to carry all I need and own on my back for 5-6 months sleeping in a tent or shelters along the way.
The only answer I can give…..
Because it is there.
I want to do something that is bigger then myself and when I finish, I can be proud of myself. I have NEVER done anything that truly makes me proud. My mom will interject and say I have made her proud, but I am talking about making ME proud of ME. I desperately need that.
This summer I decided that one day… I would do it.
Decision made. So lets move on.
But I can’t.
During the day, I sit at my desk, at my job I actually like, and I look out and I see the sky and it looks limitless. I wonder what would it be like to follow the sky… see where it takes me.
At night I come home and snuggle in my soft warm bed. Sleep won’t come. My mind races thinking about the trail.
I went on a few hikes thinking that maybe that would curb the desire. Nope. It just made it worse
Why can’t I think of anything else?!?!?!?
Then earlier this week I joined a group on Facebook that is just for women who have either hiked, are currently planning a hike, or are VERY interested in hiking the AT.
I made my “Thanks for having me, I welcome all advice and tips” message, and within seconds, I was welcomed into a strong and mighty group of women.
I love my friends. VERY much. They listen to my dreams and even tag along for some hikes in crazy weather, but they don’t truly get it.
I love my family. They support me and stand by me through every twist and turn. But they don’t totally get it either.
These women I met in this group….
THEY GET IT!
Like me, they have the same nagging desire and powerful pull of the trail. Nothing is going to satisfy until it is done.
What I found even more enlightening, and comforting was that these women are average, everyday, REAL women. In fact so many of their stories were so similar to mine it was scary.
It felt totally freeing and encouraging to speak to someone else who felt the exact same way I felt. They don’t understand the pull of the trail anymore then I do, but they all know or knew, it has to be answered.
I am the Queen of Excuses. THE QUEEN! I can give you about 500 reasons why I should not do something. Self doubt, worry, and fear keep me from doing so many things……
Even a dream I have had for years.
Even after I had promised myself just a few months ago that “Someday” it would happen.
Here’s my list:
It is TOO Expensive- It takes money for gear, food, lodging in trail towns, and unexpected expenses along the way.
I CAN’T quit my job- I NEED my job. 5-6 months with NO income is terrifying. What if they don’t take me back?
I CAN’T leave my elderly dog- Ellie and I have been together for almost 13 years. She is my WORLD. I have promised her I would be with her till the end. I don’t want her to think I am abandoning her. Who would take care of her?
I am NOT in tip top shape- I’m no athlete. I am an average middle aged woman who could stand to lose a few pounds.
I am SCARED of doing it alone- I love being independent, but alone..out in the woods…SCARY stuff. I have watched too many Dateline and Criminal Minds episodes.
What happens after I get done?- Where will I live? What will I do? Who will I be?
What if I don’t finish?- This will just prove to some that I couldn’t cut it.
My heart hurts looking at the list above….
This week I found several kindred spirits in this Facebook group. Like me, most of the ladies that responded turned 40 this past year and realized there had to be something more. Many, like me, are single, and are no longer satisfied with daily routine. All, like me, feel the need to accomplish something larger then they ever imagined.
They all asked me the same question:
“WHEN ARE YOU GONNA DO YOUR THRU-HIKE?”
Someday…Maybe next year.
One particular lady responded with a statement that punched me right in the gut….
“If I waited until then, I’d never get to go. I threw my hands up and put my foot down. Well… It was more like I cried and bought a backpack. But this is my year, I’m going.”
Her words, while simple, were pure and rang ever so true. She is no longer going to say “Someday”. She has made up her mind that someday is TODAY
I am ALWAYS going to find an excuse. There is NEVER going to be a good time to stop my life for 5-6 months. If I wait till the right time to go…I may NEVER go.
Let’s face it…. I am not getting younger, I will NEVER be rich, I will NEVER be in tip top shape, and a lot of stuff can happen between now and “Someday”.
I haven’t slept much the past few nights. I have tossed and turned, wrestled and cried, read and prayed.
What if I fail? What if I make a fool out of myself? What if I don’t have any support from home (which I know would totally never happen, but it is a fear)? What if run out of money? What if my dog passes while I am away? What is something happens to my mom or my sister while I am gone? What if I am jobless and homeless for months when I finish? What if I get hurt? What if I fall off a mountain?
But as I read my new friends response to my “Maybe Someday” answer, I heard that voice in my head and heart that I know is God.
“Do you trust me?”
“Do you trust me?”
Of course I do, but…….
“Do you REALLY trust me?”
Yes, but God I am scared. What if……
“Why are you afraid? Have you forgotten? I am your strength, regardless of how weak you are. I am your refuge, even when other people sometimes fail you. I will NEVER leave you alone child. I will always be enough for you. Face everything with NO fear, because I am walking with you.” Deut. 31:6, Joshua 1:9, Is. 41:10
Oh, how I WANT to….
“Trust me COMPLETLY and don’t depend on your own knowledge” Proverbs 3:5
I just don’t see how it can happen…..
“All things are possible if you believe.” Mark 9:23
But what will I lose in the process?
“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.” Is 66:9
Oh Father, I want so desperately to be a strong and courageous woman, but….
“She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future” Proverbs 31:25
You truly have an answer for everything don’t you?
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel and watch over you.” Psalms 32:8
Check mate! (FYI…Why I argue with the Almighty is beyond me… I know He is going to trump me in the end.)
So where do I go from here? I am still wrestling with my hearts desire, my reality, and my late night conversation with God.
There is more to this blog… I just can’t finish right now. I am exhausted, drained, and still have so much more left to say.
All I know is I am tired of saying “Someday” and I am through with “What if’s?” Stay tuned friends…. things are on the verge of getting interesting.