Continued momentum… This is an idea that was articulated by a friend of mine on trail, Spicybite. He and I were talking on trail one day about our pre-trail lives and what we wanted after trail. He mentioned that he wanted to continue the momentum that the trail gave him, and that he would need to keep that in mind pretty much as soon as he got back home so that he wouldn’t fall into the enticing comfort of going back to how things were. I knew that it was one of the reasons that I wanted to hike the trail in the first place- to have momentum in my life, and one of my goals was to continue with that momentum when I got home.
One of the beauties of trail life was the simplicity and freedom of every day. We woke up, ate, walked, ate, walked some more, ate, set up camp, ate some more, and went to sleep. All of that and some conversation with friends (or oneself) sprinkled in, plus, maybe some music, podcasts, or an audiobook to spice it up. The objective was clear everyday: keep walking and stay alive. For me, it wasn’t really until toward the end of the trail that I came to terms with the fact that it was going to end, and I started to daydream about the stability of everyday life back home and having a warm and cozy house to snuggle up in during the cold and rainy days.
Winter is hard in the Pacific Northwest. Seasonal depression kicks in… and top that with intermittent post-trail depression. Keeping that momentum going has been especially challenging in the winter. What I’m finding is that if I at least keep that goal of momentum in my mind, it is really helpful in pulling me out of a funk. In order to level up in my life, I need to be challenged by something. So, instead of asking myself, “Why is this happening to me (whatever “this” may be)?”, I ask, “Why is this happening FOR me?” I got this beautiful idea from someone named Brittany Taylor (check her out!). Another important thing to keep me moving forward is to surround myself with people who challenge me as well as support me. I’ve come to realize that the people who have stayed in my life didn’t just happen by chance. They are people who I subconsciously decided to keep in touch with, because I felt accepted, supported, and challenged by them.
I am currently in an interesting in-between phase, where I feel like there is forward progress, but it’s going slowly. It’s like when you start pushing a heavy object and it feels like it’s barely budging, then, it starts gaining more and more momentum. As long as you keep pushing. That’s the main thing I’m learning: consistency is key. Don’t give up and don’t stop pushing. Don’t make the challenge so hard at first that it feels like you’re pushing up a giant hill. Start out with sustainable changes, then, once you gain some momentum, you can handle that hill. It’s like the trail: one step at a time, one mountain at a time, one day at a time. If you stick with it, you’ll get to where you want to go.