I’ve made the choice to dedicate my life to my passion, and that doesn’t come without sacrifice. There are more days than not that not having a wife, a family or an established career can eat away at me. I experience a lot of loneliness because of my choices. I’m 45 years old, and there are days I wonder if I’ll ever have a different response to the questions people ask me. Sitting on a mountain top, tent flap open, sun going down, a majestic aura all around me fills me with inconceivable joy, but it also has its moments of aching solitude.
Actually, I had lost sight of what brought me up to the woods in the first place: the friends, the solitude, the enjoyment of skiing through a quiet forest in winter. Which I was totally missing out on because I couldn’t let go of my expectations. I couldn’t slow down, take my time, focus on each downhill slope, and lean into the occasional crash.
Hiking is an easy way to appreciate nature and offer your mind time to reflect, space to appreciate, and you get to experience the warmth of the sun touching your face. You can hear the whistling sound of the wind rushing through the trees and you get attuned to the earth with every step.
Three months ago, I climbed the Grand Teton as the culmination of my summer job leading outdoor trips for students. The certificate for that feat, signed by our three guides, is currently pinned to my refrigerator. Because I’m proud of it, goddammit. I did a thing!