Tell Your Worries to Take a Hike (Literally)

Photo Take a Hike

Mud; that’s all I remember about my first hiking experience. It was not a pleasant one (read “Coming Clean on a Dirty Little Secret: My First Hike Fiasco”). That’s the beauty of being a late bloomer; being just a tad behind the curve allows me the opportunity to watch and learn from others.

Years later, when Mr. Wiz* invited me to join him on the Camino, I had a decision to make. Do I stay behind, afraid to try something out of my comfort zone? Or, do I join him on this adventure and walk 500 miles through Spain? After some research, I decided that if pilgrims had been walking the Way of Saint James to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela (where tradition has it that his remains are buried) since medieval times, this was something not to miss.

I still remember the day the REI salesperson tied me into my first pair of hiking boots. As I stood at the top of that mountain, I felt positively giddy; no matter that it was the four-foot plastic mountain in the middle of the shoe department.

Walking for 33 days changes you; with nothing to be concerned about except your immediate surroundings, life slows down. It’s amazing what can go on while your feet are moving. Spending hours watching them maneuver rocky paths cleans out all those cobwebs in your brain. Sharing stories and feelings with someone you’ve just met exhilarates you. Walking in silence is meditation in motion.

The sounds of rustling leaves, rushing water or a bird singing, the feeling that comes from taking a big deep breath on a cool day and that wonderful ache you feel from pushing your body just a little bit more; this is Mother Nature’s way of putting her arms around you.

Too much wild life can take its toll. Let’s try to balance the party animal in us all with some tranquility. Being down to earth rewards us with the mental, spiritual and physical aspects of life that we might have missed out on, had we not stopped to smell the roses.

So, when all else fails, get out there and walk! Worries and stress are no match for flora and fauna. Uncomplicate those complications, hop over those hurdles, break down those barriers; it’s amazing how solutions can miraculously appear if you just let your feet lead the way and take one step at a time.

 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

 

Late Bloomer Benefits

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Photo Late Bloomer 2

When I think back, JC* may have been a bit concerned when I dragged out my Patti Playpal doll and all her accessories every Saturday afternoon. She’d suggest that my friend come over or would drive me to her home, maybe sensing that a 13-year old girl should not be seen dragging a three-foot tall doll down the street, for fear that she would receive taunts from fellow schoolmates. By the time, I had moved on and Patti had moved from my bedroom to the basement closet, my girlfriends were well into the dramatic boy stage. And so it continued…

 

A late bloomer is defined as a person whose talents and capabilities develop later than others, but eventually catch up and in some cases, may even overtake their peers. At a young age, I realized that, in order to be comfortable in my own skin, I had to accept that I was just a tad behind the curve and make it work for me. I began to think of it as the gift that kept on giving. I decided that watching and learning from others takes patience and it was that patience that would ultimately help me to forge success. And, when I combined that with positive thinking, it would create a powerful force.

 

It’s not easy telling yourself that it just wasn’t meant to be. Though this is the last thing you want to hear at that moment, when you look back, you can usually trace the pattern of how one event led to another and ultimately worked out for the best, even when the ending may have been far different from you had originally imagined.

 

There have been many instances when I had to remind myself that, eventually, my time would come. No surprise that most of them occurred during high school. I didn’t make the kick line squad until the second time around and then became the captain. I was too shy to utter a word at the sorority teas and was the only one of my friends that did not receive an invitation to join. I begged JC to accompany me to the mall and hide in the shadows as I walked in and out of every store, looking for my first job. I always felt clumsy and awkward, constantly falling over my own feet.

 

I cannot believe that this is the same person who later spoke at bridal fairs on behalf of Wedgwood China, was interviewed on a TV morning show about her book and successfully walked 500 miles through Spain on The Camino.

 

Is brown the new black? Is 60 the new 40? I don’t have to worry about that right now. By the time it’s resolved, I’ll probably just be catching up with the trend. I’ll wait to see what blooms next and take it from there.

 

 

 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page