Hiking is a great form of exercise. It clears the mind and can also be physically challenging. But I think what is most important about hiking is the lessons we learn from it, and how we go about hiking, that can stand for and relate to many things in life.
I would say around 75% of the hikes we take are to reach a certain point or destination. And what I find so fascinating is that the goal of these hikes is generally to get half way. What I mean is that the destinations we set out to reach are only half way along the hike. We go toward some lake, mountain top, valley, etc., but that is almost always just the half way point. We go to great lengths in order to reach these destinations, and when they are reached, we temporarily forget that we must make the journey back towards where we started. Which often times means turning around and going back the exact way we came.
I think there is something profoundly sad about this. That our goals, in hiking and in life, are to reach the half way point. To reach the “pinnacle”, and forgetting the journey afterwards. We set goals that really are only just half way there. And usually, the journey back is never as exciting, because you’ve seen all of the same trees and trails before because it is exactly how you came in. We really end our hikes and our goals 50% earlier than we should. Which often leads to disappointment and leaving with a sense of being underwhelmed. We forget about the glory and the grandeur of our successes because we must push on past them and travel back into the familiar which becomes mundane.
What I mean is that we should not get so caught up on the successes and achievements of any single endeavor, that we forget about the journey, to it and thereafter. Turning around to go home should not be the mentality that we take when we hike or when we reach any goal we set out to achieve. In love and in life we must appreciate the hardships and troubles along the way in order to appreciate and enjoy the success of achievement even more. And we also must appreciate the journey to come after. You still have a few miles to go after you reach that mountaintop. While they will be down hill, they will still be trying and difficult times. Your perspective will change and you will be tired from the journey there, but you cannot become apathetic. Because you’re only half way there. And it’s time to work hard and enjoy the rest of the way.
Each new day is one to reach a new peak, a new destination, a new goal. But when we’ve reached that goal, there is still so much more to go until you can say that you have achieved it. Times will get hard, and it is always good to remember what it felt like to succeed and to reach that hilltop, but longing for the beauty of the past distracts from the beauty of the future. It leads to unhappiness and a loss of hope.
Set goals that will last a lifetime so that you’re constantly striving toward something, constantly climbing upward. So that when you reach that beautiful lake, that is where you will stay and live forever, instead of turning around, longing for the past with your head down, watching one foot step in front of the other and forgetting to look around you to see the wonder of the journey to come.