The End… Ouch

This will be the last GWL blog that I write. If you came here looking for something uplifting to put in your day, I’m sorry but this will be disappointing. About 700 miles into our hike at the beginning of April, we finally found ourselves in a new hub city, Las Vegas. We had been adamantly avoiding small towns due to COVID concerns. It was here that we had The Meeting. The one that we all knew was coming. The one where they told us we were going home.

I originally wrote this post in June and hesitated to publish it. It was so raw and angry and painful. It had already been two months since The Push Beyond project was officially disbanded. I know I had been horrible about staying current with the blog posts, and you know what? I’m not sorry. I needed that time to be present in my life, not to be reliving a dead dream. I’ve given a good amount of thought to changing this post into something more positive, but I’ve decided to leave my raw negative emotions on the table. It’s important for other people dealing with similar things post-trail to know they aren’t alone. I need to be vulnerable and open about how I feel.

Back to the Beginning of June

The month and a half after the project ended, I took a road trip with three other hikers to get us all home. Ethically? Probably not the best idea with COVID happening. Otherwise? It was the best choice I’d made in a while. I got to live a life of adventure and love for 1.5 months, exploring parts of the country I’d never had the opportunity to see before. I got to transition back to the idea of being home, without the whiplash of doing it in a few hours, by plane.

It’s been about two weeks since I was dropped off in New Hampshire. I’m living and working in a town that’s closer to Canada than the nearest Walmart. Moose outnumber the people that live here. COVID doesn’t seem to exist, at least not in people’s brains. I’m right next to a river with a section of rapids I can run over and over again in my kayak. There are plenty of ATV trails to run on. You’d think I’d be happy.

If you thought that, you’d be wrong. Some days are ok. I’ve convinced myself I’m fine, that I have things to look forward to and projects to distract myself with. Other days are just plain difficult. I’m dealing with some really exhausting emotions, like anger and resentment and bitterness. I had a taste of the life that I want on that road trip home, and now it’s so far out of my reach it hurts. Every time I stop to think about it, I get really upset for about an hour and then I get a headache and need a nap, and I can’t take a nap because I have a job to do.

I feel so incredibly mediocre. Like just another speck of dust on this giant spinning rock hurtling through space, doing the same thing day after day after unremarkable day. I miss travel. I miss seeing remarkable things and running in remarkable places. I miss adding to my list of firsts. I miss the adventure. Above all, I miss the company I was in along the way. It hurts. It just hurts.

Present Day

I’m doing much, much better now. Transitions are hard, and they might always be. I still have this feeling like I don’t belong here, but it isn’t crippling to me anymore. I can get through a week at a time without the crushing feeling of mediocrity and depression. I invest myself in projects to work on that distract me and give me purpose outside of work. I implement structure to my days. I create goals and find things to look forward to.

I think at this point I’m back to being a normal human. What’s that? Oh, right, there is that one thing… almost forgot. I decided to take up trail running and ultra-marathons. If reading more about how masochistic I am is appealing to you, stay tuned. Life doesn’t end after the trail.