At almost 44 years old, I find myself revisiting a dream I had in my thirties which was to hike the Continental Divide Trail. I was going to do this with a good friend of mine, Brian Jarrett, who sadly died when he was rear-ended while riding his motorcycle. We were thinking of doing it for the pure satisfaction and love of a long distance hike and it seemed to prosaic to hike the Appalachain Trail. The idea was to do something singularly inspiring. When I think of the times that I have been happier in life, I have always had a goal and something to shoot for. Maybe it is time to resurrect this dream.
I am struggling to move beyond dreaming and trying to remember when I trained for big adventures as to how I began the dream. When I lost a lot of weight in my early 20s, I remember the realization that I could do something I had always wanted to do which was to take a backpacking trip and so I did. I did a guided trip of the Northern Loop of Mount Rainier and it was tough but it was a blast! The trip literally began with a short hike in the local state park and progressed to more and more difficult hikes with more and more weight. When I trained, I trained with almost an 80lb backpack; more weight than I would actually carry.
The trip began with small steps, dedication, and focus. Maybe I could begin this anew by simply taking the small step of a hike. I remember that while training, I was able to visualize myself successfully taking this backpacking trip. I mean I was able to visualize myself on the actual trail while training and I could see myself totally owning it. Now struggling with mental illness, I wonder if it is possible to recapture that feeling from 20 years ago. I also bought books about Mount Rainier National Park, looked at photos, and really built the imagery in my mind.
The athletes that are successful are masters at imagining their success through mental imagery. To help build this imagery, I want to buy some books on the Continental Divide Trail to learn about it. I can also look at some websites and pictures that other people have taken and put myself in those exact places. It just might be possible to generate the motivation to do this. A big dream begins with a small step. All I have to do is take this small step and the first small step for me is a simple walk around the neighborhood with added self-praise for simply doing.