This past weekend I did a little solo adventure. It went as follows:
1. Saturday morning, woke up at 6:00am
2. Drove 3.5 miles to my hike
3. Hiked 5.5 miles
4. Went to local town – walked around and went to a brewery and ate a late lunch
5. Slept at a semi-sketchy hotel
6. Woke up at 7:00am at said semi-sketchy hotel
7. Met two new women for a rock climbing class
8. Climbed for 7 hours
9. Drove 3.5 hours home
The weekend turned out to be really awesome. I loved it. I felt in my element and I was happy…for most of it. I’ll get into those details soon. But originally, I was dreading it. I didn’t know if I could handle it, to be honest. It all seemed like too much. I felt as if I was in the in-between. I felt way outside of my comfort zone. Going on a weekend trip by myself seemed daunting.
I think the most daunting detail was that had to figure it out on my own. I so use to having another person with me to help. To help with research. To help with planning. To help with motivation. But this time I only had me. Since the break up 3 months ago, I have grown a lot in being able to be by myself- but just not all the way yet. So this was a good stepping stone, or I guess jump for me.
Originally, I planned on doing a long drive up with stops along the way and camping. But my anxiety was extremely high already with this weekend, so I knew I needed to adapt. Thank goodness I’m more self-aware now. But first and foremost, I decided not to camp. I haven’t camped since the break-up and this was not the weekend to try camping alone for the first time. Then I decided to do just one bigger hike, instead of many stops along the way. All of this helped and my anxiety lessened a bit.
I have to admit I felt a bit like a failure, though. How could I not handle camping for one night on my own? How could I not handle taking a long drive by myself? I beat myself up a bit in the days prior to the trip for these decisions. But then I had an epiphany. Or maybe it was obvious to you, but just not to me. But I needed to take my time with things like this. I needed to be gentle with myself. I needed some type of comfort when stepping outside of my comfort zone. I needed to realize that it was okay not to be roughing it all the time. It was okay to do things my way- instead of his.
So Saturday morning came around, and I ventured off. The drive up was beautiful. I became so awake and elated once I reached New Hampshire. The hike was the least anxious part of my weekend. I felt happy. It was freaking beautiful. I met awesome people. I climbed ladders. I went through caves. Everything felt right. But the hike ended.
I drove to a local town to have some lunch and a beer. I went to a brewery. I sat outside. Then I think it finally hit me. How alone I was. I’m so used to having a person across from me at the table. A person to talk to. A person to reflect on the hike with. But instead, it was just me. When I went back to the hotel, the feeling of loneliness hit me even harder.
Here I was in this 2-star hotel by myself. No one to talk to. No one to hang out with. No one just to be with. All those anxious and depressed emotions came surging over me. I was a failure. I was a loser. No one cared. No wonder why you are alone. I was the worst. Blah blah blah. I even tried to figure out what I was going to wear the next day to climbing, but I looked stupid in all the clothes I bought. I even ended up rushing to a local Marshalls to buy clothes to wear the next day.
Basically, it wasn’t a good night for me. I wasn’t in my element. The fact that I was alone was so obvious in those moments. I couldn’t find anything to distract me from the fact that I wasn’t sharing this experience with anyone.
When I woke up the next morning, I felt a bit better. It was probably the rest. It was probably space from how I was feeling. It was probably the fact that I was about to head off on another adventure: rock climbing.
I showed up at the rock climbing spot to meet my guide. Since I was too early and I had anxiety, I hid in the back of the lot until it was time. I was sitting there wondering if I was going to be able to handle the day. I’m not used to rock climbing for full days. I never felt good enough when climbing. I was already tired.
But the day turned out to be great. There were only one other girl and the guide in the group. Both of them were awesome. I tried really hard and felt supportive the entire time. At the end of the day, my toe was hurting and I couldn’t climb anymore. I couldn’t finish the last climb. The other girl in my group did. For a moment, I was hard on myself. I felt stupid and weak. But then I was able to remind myself of all the kick-ass stuff I did that day. I was a bit more proud. So minus the awkward moments when I saw this guy I talked to on hinge a month ago, it was a perfect day.
On my drive home, I reflected on the weekend. My first solo adventure weekend. I had a couple realizations that I will share with you now:
- My ex-boyfriend was good for me, even though he wasn’t always good for me.
- I am more capable and brave than I give myself credit for.
- I have an amazing support system – even if they aren’t right next to me.
- I am great company.
- Just because an experience isn’t shared specifically with another person…it doesn’t mean the experience wasn’t worth it.
- I am up for another weekend of solo adventuring.
That weekend wasn’t perfect. I don’t think any solo adventuring weekend will be. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. It doesn’t mean that my anxiety and depression will stop me from having another weekend like this. It doesn’t mean that I will never try camping by myself. It just means that I will adapt. That I will grow. That I will learn. That I will develop.
I am going to keep pushing myself, and being the best person I can be. Alone or with others. Anxiety and depression or not.