Friday, June 17, 2011
Hiking, life & why my plans have changed
Taking a physical challenge to prove something is nothing new. People have been doing this in many forms since the beginning of the human race, from sports to tribal tattoos to wrestling to losing weight, and so on.
Humans love to use physical strength as a sign of mental strength. Whether it's proving something to yourself or to others, we like to say 'if I can do that, I can do anything'.
Hiking is like this for me. Heading out into the bush for days, exerting myself, sleeping on hard surfaces and eating dehydrated food, stepping over snakes along a track, and walking despite massive blisters and exhaustion and sixteen kilos or more on my back.
Sounds fun, right? Okay, maybe not - but the benefits are addictive: seeing amazing places that are hard to reach, pushing myself, getting fit and strong, and spending time with my husband as we walk along side by side.
I've learnt a lot from hiking; about how much I can do, how far I can push. I've discovered I can do anything if I try really hard, and I gain a lot of satisfaction from knowing that life is about pushing limits.
This last weekend I did part of Victoria's Great Ocean Walk with my parents (you can see photos of that here).
I went with the aim of clearing my head, and clear my head I did. There's something about being out in the wilderness with everything you need to survive right there in a pack on your back, seeing the wild coast and rugged terrain on what feels like the edge of the earth, that puts things back into perspective.
Focusing on nothing but your next step is good for the soul.
And I also found that there is still more that hiking can teach me. I realised there's more to it than pushing on and on.
Walking for kilometre after kilometre with one knee that hurts so much each step brings tears to your eyes, and another knee that is building up fluid so fast you can hear it in there, is just not good. For the first time on a hike I stopped and said I couldn't go any further - I had found my limitation and I had to just be happy with what I'd done.
Having cleared all the uncertainty and negativity from my head was, to me, a big achievement in itself. So I headed home with a smile on my face and a feeling of lightness, ready to make a new start and create a better picture of myself.
I came home knowing that the decisions I've made recently are right for me. You see, although I was working on something huge (a new business with some wonderful, talented people) and I promised you all a big announcement soon - it won't be happening. I've let down the people I was working with, put aside all the hours we've worked and the plans we've made, and put myself and my family first.
There will be no big career announcement coming, because I realised my limitations. One person can only do so much and there reaches a point where you have to be happy with what you have.
I'll still strive for more, I still believe in pushing myself and dreaming - but now I know that just because I can do anything, I don't have to do everything. Or be everything. It's about choosing what's important and doing those things really, really well.
Sometimes physical achievements prove things. But sometimes realising you're just one human, and you have to work within some limitations, can show you just how strong you really are.
Posted at 9:03 AM