For two weeks I explored from San Francisco to Seattle. Hiked. Camped. Rock Climbed. With a few others. Basically lived in a tent and took only a few showers. For some, this may not sound bad. For me, it was challenging. I become overwhelmed being surrounded by people all the time. Intense physical activity makes my mental strength weaken. There was one day when this all came together. That day that was incredibly mentally and physically exhausting that I broke down just a tad.
I hiked eighteen miles in a day with a lot of ascents. There were many times throughout the day when I thought I couldn’t go on. I thought after the first portion of uphill it was going to be easier. Of course, there were much more uphills and downhills along the way. Along with many moments that I thought I should just give up. Moments of questioning why I thought I could do this. Moments of feeling guilty because I was going too slow. But there were also moments have a pure enchantment. Watching mountain goats stroll around the mountains. Viewing lakes that looked as if they were painted. Moments of peace. Followed by a couple more moments of struggle. There was a moment when I was just about to tell someone how all that uphill was worth it for these views, then came another uphill. I have to admit; I was a little disheartened because I thought I already made it through the tricky part.
We ended up hiking out in the dark. I had a slight breakdown near the end. Near the end, I wanted no more of that hike. My mind tried to convince me that I was never going to be able to walk out. Obviously, I finished because my brain likes to lie. I had a lot happening in my mind already, then the physical difficulty of this hike plus the mental capacity it takes to go on a “suffer fest” and then hiking down hill in the dark, it all became too much. So, yeah I broke. As soon as I was done, I was elated. I was proud of myself. I was impressed with myself. I survived a tumultuous day.
Here’s the thing, in life you will never know exactly when the hard parts are coming to an end. Just like you don’t know when you’re good times are either. All that turbulence makes it worth the journey and leads you to believe in yourself a tiny bit more because no matter what your brain tells you, the hard parts will eventually end. Life continues, and all the parts of your journey will ultimately lead you to something beautiful and amazing.
I learned I could do more and survive more than I thought I could. I am more capable than I realize. When you go through something difficult, mentally or physically, and you come out on the other side, it can be an incredible feeling. I learned how to handle it a little better the next time. So when the next difficult climb in my life happens, I know I can tackle it. I know that I have support. I know it won’t be difficult forever. More than anything, I know I can deal with it.
I am sure I will still have doubts about myself at times. Times when I think I am unworthy or incapable. But then looking back on this, and the hundreds of other difficult things that I survived, it gives myself a little bit of hope. I will never know exactly what life will bring me, but I know I can handle it.