Eight years ago, my friend Jeff invited me and a few others on a 60-mile hike in Glacier National Park. It was a magnificent and memorable trip. So, when he called in December to invite me to join him and his family for a hike in southernmost Chile (Patagonia), I jumped at the chance. Parque Nacional Los Torres is as spectacular as it is remote – immense glaciers, awe-inspiring peaks, deep blue lakes and challenging terrain.
Jeff and his wife are almost ten years younger than I and their three children plus a girlfriend are all in their 20’s. The moment I hung up the phone, I called a nearby gym and signed up to work with a trainer! If I were to avoid fatigue, humiliation and death (humiliation being worse than death), I needed to be in shape.
I worked hard for the three months prior to the trip. In our first short hikes I realized I was fit enough but significantly slower than the 20-somethings. DUH! I’m a first-born with no brothers so I grew up accustomed to leading the pack. And I have been a leader in organizations beginning with my Brownie Scout troop. However, there was NO WAY I was going to lead this pack…and I didn’t really want to, but…
It was clearly time for a conversation with myself. Why was I there?
- To experience the beauty of Patagonia
- To challenge myself physically
- To re-fresh my spirit
- To have fun
NONE of these required me to lead. Indeed, for a doer like me, the challenge was to be in the space, be in the moment.
The young people sped past me. One young woman reminded me of myself at that age. She had to be at the front. She was hiking her hike and I was hiking mine.
A big part of finding your YIPPEE! is to “hike your own hike”.
Don’t compare yours with someone else. When we focus on comparing ourselves to others for either better or for worse, we lose focus on our own trail.
- What “hike” are you hiking?
- Why are you there?
- What does it truly require of you?
- What must you grab hold of?
- What must you let go?
Confession: Heading down from the top of our climb, I was feeling pretty sassy because the guide said I was in better shape at the top than my friend Jeff. I was quietly gloating when my poles gave way and I went crashing down the slope, tearing ligaments in my descent.