January 24, 2016

I Don’t Need to Hike the Appalachian Trail.


First let me tell you little bit about myself. I am 36 years old and I am not one iota close to where I thought I would be at this point in my life.

Somehow between the age of 18 and now I’ve been on this journey of trying to find myself but I’ve done it by getting lost in everyone else.

In my relationships, my career and in my family. In trying to be “myself,” whomever that may be, I became what those around me projected me to be. What society said I should be and what I thought I “should be”…and in the process of finding myself I realize I have become terribly lost.

I have found myself somewhere in between a constant state of the “I don’t knows” and “okay I’ll do that instead.” The truth is, I think I’ve always known what it is I have wanted. I just stopped listening to myself and started listening to everyone else.

So in time, I became stubborn and independent. Up until this point it has suited me well, although now I believe it is holding me back. It has turned me into fight or flight mode. The, “I’m going out on my own and doing it by myself mode.”

Perhaps I’ll just give it all away and hike the Appalachian Trail mode.

I’m tired. It is exhausting to try and be everything that you are not while having no idea who you are. So I had a thought, “Maybe if I hiked the Appalachian Trail, all by myself… I could find myself.” That perhaps if I peeled away all the things that were not me and was left only with myself and a mountain to climb I could find me…

But then it hit me. Like a sudden bolt of lightning, a violent car crash—that’s what I’ve been doing all along.

The mountain I’ve been climbing has been my life. All the wrong relationships and missed stepping stones along the way have been my trail to the unknown. I don’t need to pack a backpack and hike into the wilderness. I did that every day I packed my lunch into my car and drove those 55 miles to work with the commuters traffic to a job that did not fulfill me. That was the path that was strengthening me. The will to get up and get after something I didn’t even want to chase.

I’m realizing now that I don’t need to run away to be enlightened and I don’t need to climb a mountain to challenge myself. Life has provided all the challenges I need. I just need to open my eyes and look where I’m going, instead of closing my eyes and going with the norm. I also need to stop getting up each day and doing things I don’t want to do.

Instead I need to do the things that inspire me. That in itself is enough to make you want to get out of bed every day! To be excited for what the day has to hold. How could you not be successful if you woke up every day excited to be alive?

I don’t need to hike the Appalachian Trail.

Figuratively, I already climbed those mountains…I’ve been lost in the woods for long enough and now it’s time to descend into the valley and do what I’ve come here to do: follow my heart and find my purpose.


Author: Anne DeLima

Apprentice Editor: Brook Bentley / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Image: Flickr/Martinak15

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