Friday, July 19, 2013

One Way Street

The other day I posted a blog about one of the more difficult trails I've hiked recently. It was challenging, but it was not impossible. I never felt like giving up or turning back. I was thrilled with the sense of adventure and looked forward to seeing what was around the next bend.

True - I was hot, sore and exhausted by the time I finished. But in a good way. The kind of exhaustion with the glow of beautiful exertion swirling around me. My legs vibrated and tingled with the flow of oxygen to my muscles and my lungs were filled with full breaths of clean air. My rosy-flushed skin sparkled with a sheen of sweat mixed with bug spray. And my mind was alive with thoughts and ideas... presumably from the influx of blood circulating to my brain. Hiking is so much better than sitting at a desk in an air-conditioned office all day! I felt ALIVE!

And I'll tell you a secret... I'm not very athletic or physically fit. I'm going to go against all girly-standards and tell you that I'm 5'4" and 160 lbs. - technically and most likely at least 20 pounds overweight. I'm middle-aged and have been working desk jobs all my life. I don't go to the gym (although I try to lift hand-weights and do crunches on my living room floor - but Charlie always turns that into a game of dog-wrestling so I never really get a real workout in).

On top of all that... I have a 50 lb. dog strapped to my waist! And when she wants to go, she lunges and pulls me along with her. We're definitely working as more of a "team" on these hikes lately and she's adjusting well to the roamer leash, but if she jumps up a steep incline, I have to jump with her to make sure she doesn't get yanked backwards when the leash fully extends, and vice versa. So I'm jumping up and down and over obstacles at the same speed as this almost-3-year-old athletic dog.

Plus, I have a backpack full of water bottles (enough for both of us), snacks, poop bags, bug spray and first aid kit strapped to my back. I'm alone out there, with only myself to handle situations that arise.

So... why am I telling you this? Because some readers might be reading along thinking, "That looks like fun, but I could never do that." Well, guess what. You can. If you have legs, you can go hiking. And I think if you are capable of doing something but say you can't, you're doing a disservice to those who actually can't. There are people in the world who would give anything to be able to walk freely down a trail and experience the wilderness.

Life is a One Way Street. There are no do-overs. You can't go back to when you were 20, or 30 or when you weighed 50 pounds less. You are never going to be younger than you are today. It doesn't matter how old you are or if you're overweight or any of those other terrible excuses - you can do anything that you put your mind to. You just have to start. And I'm not just talking about hiking; I'm talking about anything that you've been putting off for later. Dogs teach us to live in the moment, so take this moment to do something that will make your future-self happy and proud. What are you waiting for?

Have you ever done something brave? Were you surprised how good it felt?