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Self Care

Self Care

Time for a hike

The past week hasn’t gone the way I’d planned at all. I was looking forward to sharing my “dinner with Dracula” with you (it was really more of an appetizer, but still). I’m just not able to stay ahead of this latest funk.

I’m back in the states, and I’ll be leaving for another long hike in a few days. Hiking is my drug of choice when the normal stuff fails to keep Eddie at bay (Eddie also goes by the far more clinical terms: depression, anxiety and PTSD). This time I’m hiking to Canada. Should be amazing. Fresh air, nature sounds, and plenty of time to regroup and reflect. There will be plenty of fall vistas to appreciate (and possibly a few winter whiteouts since the seasons change earlier up north).

I already miss Monica. I probably won’t miss washing dishes or doing laundry. I will definitely miss following your blogs while I’m prancing through the woods. But it’s time to take my medicine.

I probably won’t have the chance to blog, but I plan to share plenty of pictures of beautiful landscapes marred by my increasingly scruffy mug via Facebook if you’d like to follow along.

 

Really looking forward to catching up when I return!

 

P.S. I’ll do my best to respond to comments, and I hope you’ll understand that my tardiness isn’t a reflection of your awesome words of wisdom/encouragement/humor etc.

Hiking, Self Care, Travel

Life lessons I learned hiking the Appalachian Trail as a homeless hiker

Appalachian Trail hiker learns life lessons as homeless hiker

 

Homelessness is often equated with despair, and misery, and hopelessness. But maybe there is another side to this issue. Maybe, as crazy as it sounds, choosing to leave the comforts of home can be a liberating adventure.

An unusual group of people, including perpetual travelers, digital nomads, and long-distance hikers, often make the conscious decision to become “homeless.” This means giving up certainty about where they are going to sleep each night. Far from family and friends. Going to a favorite restaurant to order the usual isn’t an option. The job that provides regular income is long gone. They see these challenges, and rather than follow the logical path, decide to plunge into the unknown.

I became one of these intentionally “homeless” people last year. I wanted (needed?) to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. For nearly 6 months, I lived off what I carried on my back and the generosity of others, many of whom I had never met before. In this new world, shaving was discouraged, every day was casual Friday, and the only rush-hour was a frenzied race to reach the All-You-Can-Eat before they switched to dinner prices. It was glorious.

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Self Care

Is 40 Days long enough for a grown up “time out?”

It’s been awhile since my last post. My calendar tells me that 40 days have lapsed. Even if you were to go way back to nearly forgotten eras when life moved syrupy slow and Blockbuster let you check out hot new VHS releases like “Back to the Future” for 2 days before charging late fees, a lot could happen in 40 days.

Some of these 40 day events were paradigm shifting. Noah endured a really long rain storm, and Phileas Fogg made it halfway through his trip around the world in 80 days. Others slip by with hardly any notice, including the lifespan of the female mosquito, which begins and ends in 40 days. (While it may not be relevant here, reminding new people you meet that females are the bloodsuckers, which allows them to live a lot longer than their docile male counterparts, makes for a great conversation starter.)

40 days is also traditionally considered the duration of a grown-up version of a meaningful “time out.” (Lent and our wait for the next season of Game of Thrones are good examples.) This is a time to step back from the busyness of life to reflect on our priorities, to focus on important relationships, and to fix our broken parts.

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Self Care

How I turn “I Can’t” into “I did it!” when depression strikes

Charles Dicken’s introduced the classic Tale of Two Cities with one of the best opening lines of all time:

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…

I could really use an introduction like that for this post. The Spring Equinox has just passed and I should be busy dusting off my neglected Bucket List. We picked an “easy” item from the List as a warm-up. Monica and I are leaving for Venice to eat pizza in St Mark’s Square. I’m supposed to be practicing my Italian. At least enough to say, “Hello, Domino’s Pizza? Yes. We would like to order a large Supreme pizza please.”

 

Instead, I’m losing a battle with this bastard of a companion who is determined to keep me imprisoned. I refer to him as “Eddie, my inner editor,” but his clinical names are depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Eddie is far more palatable, right?). Continue Reading…