Recently I talked with a coworker about her love of hiking. I have never really been hiking before, and thought it sounded kind of boring. Me? Alone? Trees? Why? Sounds unproductive. My brain works at a different speed than that. I need to stay busy to feel like I’m accomplishing something. But my brain also told me that I needed this. I needed to unwind, disconnect from technology, people, and reconnect with what I wanted in life and what was important to me. So I asked her for a good route here in Wisconsin and she delivered! I decided on Kettle Moraine State Park, the Zillmer Trail. I did about 5 minutes of research on what to bring, it was only a 5 mile hike after all…
Make sure to bring:
Water, small and filling snacks, (as not to get a stomach cramp) a book to read, something to take notes down on when you have an epiphany, more AND less clothing in case it’s hotter / colder than you thought, toilet paper, bug spray, sun screen, some kind of hat, good hiking shoes, some way to communicate with the outside world in case of bears / rocks / werewolves or other dangers, and an open mind.
I went hiking on the anniversary of the passing my Step-Mother who was in my family for 19 years before she succumbed to cancer. I had decided this hiking trip would be my date with her, where I can walk around the woods and talk to her, shut off from everyone, and just be me. I had a few goals going into the woods as well, so I could have an objective when I came out the other end of the trail.
- Figure out what I want from the next 5 years.
- Figure out what I LOVE in this life and don’t budge on letting those things fade. Keep the things / people / places you love, dear to you. And keep them. It’s what makes you, you.
- Figure out what I want from the next man in my life and what I’m willing to settle for and not settle for. This is really important. DO NOT SETTLE.
- Love yourself first. Drill it into my head.
- Talk to the woods. Step mom. Grandmother. Chipmunks. A random snake.
- Listen to music and dance a little in the woods. This happened as well.
Hiking lessons learned:
- Everything in life is about balance. Working out / rest days. Eating well / comfort food. Helping others / taking time for yourself. Social time / alone time. Accepting life / changing your future. When the scale tips too much in one direction is when life gets out of balance. You can feel it, and you can adjust accordingly.
- Only accept from a future partner the love you put into the relationship. Don’t settle for less than how happy you are being alone. A partner should be an ADDITION to your life, not someone that makes your life less amazing.
- Life is short. Grab it by the cahones. Take it. You only get this one precious chance.
- Your past isn’t you. YOU are you. Your past just makes you who you are today, in this moment.
- Accept others / love yourself. Love others / accept yourself. But love yourself first. The rest of the things you’re looking for in life will follow.
- You can love without expectations. Love others because you are a loving person. Don’t expect others to give you the care and generosity that you would give to them. You only get hurt when you expect. Just be careful about being taken advantage of. You’re a person with needs too.
- You are not crazy for talking to relatives that are passed. If you think they can hear you, they can. Who is anyone else to say otherwise.
SO it may sound crazy but when I was done with my 5 mile solo hike I was a little different of a person. I forced my overactive anxiety ridden brain to shut off for a few hours, no one could get a hold of me, and I had to think about what I needed instead of what other people needed for once. So get out there! Unplug and unwind, reconnect with nature, ask yourself, what do I love / need? What makes me happy? And then go after it!