I’ve got a story for you. This morning I was hiking Sawnee Mountain Preserve and hiked past the entrance to one of the old mines. It was a very large gated entrance right on the edge of the trail and impossible to miss. It took me by surprise because I’ve hiked there at least 4 times before and never saw it until this morning.
As I hiked on, I pondered how I could have missed something so large. Am I that oblivious when I hike? No, not at all. I just never look up when I’m hiking. I look at the ground and where I’m going to put my feet down. When I was younger, I tore the ligaments in both my ankles so many times that I had no elasticity left in either one by the time I was 16. The slightest misstep made would result in my ankles giving out, my falling and 6-8 weeks dealing with another round of torn ligaments.
So I learned to perfect my walk. I would meticulously scan the ground for any imperfections, deliberately set my feet down flat and never, ever take my eyes off the ground. I learned to live within the confines of my injuries.
When I was 19 I had my left ankle rebuilt. Then when I was 24 I had the right one done. Both surgeries were a success and my ankles are stronger than I ever dreamed they would be. They no longer buckle without reason. Now if I turn my ankle, it doesn’t even hurt. I’m a normal person again able to do so many things.
What I realized this morning is that although my need to watch the ground ended after my second surgery, I never changed my behavior. I’ve lived the past 16 years as if I still have to watch every step I take. I focus on the steps. I tell myself I’ll enjoy the view when I am standing still. I realized it’s not just hiking either - it’s how I live my entire life. I determine a direction, put my head down and focus on the path thinking “I’ll enjoy the view when I’m standing still.” The problem is - I miss out on everything that happens in the journey.
So today I did something different. I broke out of my self-made prison. I looked up. I looked at anything and everything except my feet. I got to experience the journey today for the first time ever. It was both overwhelming and breathtaking.
Have you ever found yourself living life from your past rather than your present? How do you make the transition in your life?
See you on the trails!