“Why am I doing this to myself?”
In every steep ascent when energy is slowly depleting and I can feel my body burning with exhaustion, I find myself asking this question. Every time I ask, my brain answers back, “The goal, I must reach the goal.”
I recently realized that I go through three stages of emotion whenever I go on a hike. First stage is excitement. Counting the days, hours and minutes until the hike. I feel giddy, unable to contain all the excitement inside my 5’3″ body. Then comes the self-blaming-self-encouraging stage where I berate myself about my choice of hobby. Exhausted and legs moving out of sheer force of will, I find myself wondering what I have put myself into and at the same time, I encourage myself to move forward, reach the goal and get over it. When the goal is reached, comes the last stage. The “this-is-so-fun-and-when-are-we-going-next” stage, this is the part where the magnitude of what you had to go through diminished and all that mattered is that you are, at this very moment, a winner and all you can think of is your next adventure.
You know what I like most about hiking and climbing mountains? It is the very important life lesson it teaches you. Life is hard and you have to work hard to get to the top and once you get there, all the pain you had to go through just made the experience even sweeter and more important to you. It also teaches you a thing or two about your self. You realize that you can do more if you put your mind and heart to it, that you can do almost everything if you set your eyes on the prize. It teaches you that your body can do more than you think it can. It reminds you that you are made of a stronger stuff and you can actually survive if you just put your mind to it.
This why despite the pain and exhaustion hiking gives me, I still want to do it. This is why despite the difficulties, I still want to get up there and reach the summit. This is why I love hiking. Getting to the top is just 1/2 of the story. If you listen carefully, the mountain will teach you more.
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*I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors. Proofreading via mobile is a challenge for me.*