Missing Out

A pretty typical reaction when I tell someone about my through hike attempt is along the lines of “oh, wow, that is going to be such a great experience!”. And I am sure they are right. There will be no shortage of peak experience and chance encounters that will lead to fond memories and great stories. There will also be of course the boredom of one foot in front of the other for nearly 2,200 miles and the bad weather days where its too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry or just too hilly. By the time my remembering self is able to look back and separate from my experiencing self by just a bit in time, I fully expect the real mixed with the stories that over time become real will be a net great experience.

And yet, one of the worries I am trying to manage before I start off (in 54 days!) is getting too worked up about the things I am missing out on back in my normal life when I’m in the woods (and in the towns) attempting my hike.

I’ll miss sitting at home with my wife with doing a whole lot of nothing – reading, watching shows together, catching up on our lives. I’ll miss going to dinners with my wife and friends at old favorite restaurants or trying new places together. I’ll miss going to concerts and music festivals (and gearing up the skoolie for the festivals). I’ll miss piddling in my workshop, building or fixing something. I’ll miss competing in IDPA and hanging with my group of friends there during the competitions. I’ll miss going to church and hanging out with my church family. I’ll miss summer drives on backroads with the tops off the jeep with my wife. I’ll miss a weekend filled with getting things done around the farm – just the regular maintenance of keeping things in order. I’ll miss grilling out or smoking meats for us and friends.

I’m sure there are at least as many other things I’ll realize I miss only after I start. Side note: while it might seem strange to some, I don’t think I’ll miss a regular bed and a roof over my head too very much / too very often – or at least not miss in the same way I do the things I listed above. The reality of living day to day and having everything I need with only 25 lbs of things I can carry on my back is one of the things that I am looking forward to experiencing – including all that comes with it.

To manage this worry, I plan to enjoy all of these things as much as I can in the next 54 days. In this way, one of the goals I have for my hike (resetting the quality, focus and duration of my attention) is already coming true, before I’ve taken the first step on the approach trail. Once on the trail I’ll stay focused on my why and look to redirect my attention to what I am experiencing at that moment. Whatever it is, it’s most likely a once in a lifetime so it’s worth attending to or it will be gone forever.






One response to “Missing Out”

  1. Shawn Upchurch Avatar
    Shawn Upchurch

    That is such a great perspective. Thanks for sharing

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