I have a confession.
I’M REALLY NERVOUS.
If you’ve been under the impression that I’ve been playing it cool prior to our thru-hike, then I’ve done a good job of hiding that fact. I think it’s pretty normal to feel nerves before embarking on something big in your life. It means that you care about what you’re doing and want to succeed in that endeavor. But the past couple of weeks have not been easy on me emotionally or physically. I can’t fall asleep when I go to bed and then when I finally do fall asleep, I find myself waking up multiple times during the night. I’ve had a cold for the past week, probably in part to a weaker immune system since my body hasn’t gotten proper rest. And man am I anxious about our hike. I am so ready to do this thing, but my nerves get the better of me and I think about all of the worst possible scenarios that we could encounter. One of us gets hurt and we have to head home, the weather is too cold to bear, we run out of money, or maybe thru-hiking just isn’t for us. Those thoughts have even infiltrated my dream state. Actually, I think that’s where it all started a couple of weeks ago when I had my first thru-hiking dream/nightmare. I suppose the anxiety has always been there, but it slowly dug itself out of my subconscious and became ever-present in my conscious self. Damn you dreams and your ability to recognize my anxiety before I’m actually aware of it.
As I write this, I should be sleeping. I’m tired. I’m beat. I’m toast. I should get up early and be productive. But…I already know that’s not going to happen. I’m using blogging as my therapy right now. A coping mechanism as they might say. Now don’t be alarmed fellow readers. I’m not going to have a mental breakdown or anything and I’m pretty sure I’m overreacting here, but writing it all down does help. Hopefully I’ll look back on this post in 6 months and laugh at myself and think, “hey, that whole thru-hiking thing wasn’t so bad, right?” I can only hope that I feel that way by summer’s end.
A little over a week from our start date, I’ve got everything I need. Gear. Funds. Food. Moral support. Toilet paper. What else do I need? Why am I so worried?
Maybe I’m thinking too hard about this whole thing. One strategy that we hope to utilize during our hike is taking it one day at a time and t set small mileage goals along the way. I think I might need to apply that strategy to my life even before I start my thru-hike. I’m ready and anxiety isn’t going to help me out at all. Instead, I’m going to set my focus back to being a little lazy, get in a couple more meals at my favorite restaurants here in Portland, and spend time with my family and friends before we leave next week.
Ah, the power of the written word. Funny how when you write it all out, the solution seems so simple. All I had to do to stop my pre-hike anxiety was to write a blog post about it?!
I think some of the anxiety will still be there tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, but maybe, just maybe I’ll sleep a little bit better tonight. And hopefully tomorrow, I’ll think more about all of the awesome reasons of why I decided to thru-hike the AT and less about the fears that I cannot control.