Some would have labeled it a sign of hope. I just know it came at a time when I needed it the most.
It all began when I noticed an opportunity for an adventure on social media to backpack with a group overnight. It check all the boxes to engage my wholehearted passions spending time in nature so it was easy for me to sign up instantly.
I am a novice backpacker on the trail two times, two years ago so the excitement to spend time in the backwoods was welcoming to me at the time my soul needed renewing.
When I was gathering my camping essentials, my anticipation for this adventure was dissipating. My awareness of low energy with recent weight gain, feet issues, decreasing exercise and throwing in the fact of being older, I was losing my drive to get excited. I was thinking how daunting the work would be to take this adventure. I was surprised how fast I was giving up. It just didn’t feel like that was a part of my character to walk away so easily.
Then something happened that stopped my unhinged thinking. I realized I would have felt worse, more defeated if I gave up this escapade with a thumbs down and then regretted it later if I didn’t at least try to embark on this trek.
Did you ever have to do something that every ounce of you wants to give up but something kept you going?
So I made every effort to move forward by preparing my camping equipment and taking care of myself. It felt reasonable even when I didn’t know what was going on with me. I prayed and asked for God’s will. I didn’t know how this was going to turn out. One thing I was sure about and that was doing something!
The night before the trip I woke up during the night sick. Sore throat, headache, I felt terrible.
My reasonable self felt the decision was made. Too sick to go backpacking. Released of the burden of the challenge to push through this uncomfortable feeling of dredging, I was happy to obliged.
How could I make this trip happen when everything inside me said no? And now I’m sick.
Who would blame me?
What happened next was something I didn’t expect. It came as hope that would change my thinking.
My daughter called and asked how I was feeling. She just had been through this wrenching sickness herself and she matter-of-factly said, “Mom, get allergy medicine and you’ll be fine. It helped me. And yes, go backpacking, you can do this”.
That’s all it took. I came back to my senses, accepting this unsettling journey and realizing that I’ll be ok. It doesn’t have to look or be perfect. I may just have fun and if it turns out bad I will at least know I pulled all the stops and have no regrets that I didn’t at least make an effort.
I gratefully told her she was my hope when I gave up. I wasn’t being reasonable with my ability. I was believing my unhinged thinking that I was not capable and I am capable!
It looks differently with age. I get it now. With my limited thinking of doing it perfect, possibly embarrassing myself, experiencing falling short, doing it awkwardly, so what! When you’re 63, you spend less time worrying how you look, but more importantly, you move heaven and earth to venture out to experience life. Even when it doesn’t feel good or even look good.
Yes, it is taking more effort when age creeps in and that inner voice questions you. Don’t listen. It arrives differently in maturity but find a way to move forward because movement is important to your attitude, health and spending the rest of your years having the time of your life. You have more to lose if you don’t make an effort. So what if you do it fair-to-middling.