connectioning: hiking my own hike

how many hearts can *you* find in this photo? I stopped counting because there were too many. which basically sums up my life right now nicely: there's so much love, it overflows and is uncountable. hearts everywhere because that's what I choose to look for. yes.

Have you heard the expression, Hike Your Own Hike (HYOH)?

HYOH is new to me, or at least, has new meaning to me in this season of my life (#theafteryear). It's a popular enough saying in the hiking community, especially amongst thru-hikers, that there's a very popular hashtag on Instagram and even a book with the title.

(Complete side note: I really like this article, exhorting people not to be dicks in the name of HYOH. because it dovetails nicely with my life philosophy of Don't Yuck Other People's Yums.)

The way I need it right now, though, HYOH is a reminder that it's ok for me to be where I am, going at my own pace, whether it be picking my way downhill, healing from trauma or just, living life, in general.

I feel like I have had to start over in many ways, after this summer. And while sometimes that's super frustrating, it is also reassuring, because I know I am starting over on the right foot, with better boundaries. And a huge part of that was realizing: I need to focus on hiking my own hike.

So I have taken to repeating this like a mantra.

(It is a mantra.)

I Am Hiking My Own Hike.

It's an easy way to remind myself to watch my own footing and not compare my pace to anyone else's. Not even to my own pace yesterday, because today isn't yesterday. Obviously, I would like to be on an upward trajectory, especially in terms of how I'm feeling, but that's not life. Life is ebb and flow. Maybe the overall trend is up (or maybe it isn't). I can help shape that trajectory, but I'm not going to do it by denying what is actually happening.

I Am Hiking My Own Hike.

Good days and bad days are gonna happen. I have no choice but to show up anyway. This is life. Some days I may not be able to hike, because my lungs are busy dealing with allergens and that's ok. Some days I'll regress and be even more out of breath going up that first climb and that's also ok. Other days I'll be fast and go way farther than I expected. Still ok. Panic attacks will happen. I'm going to be ok. Some days I may have more time to hike and some days I may spend an extra ten minutes in the car listening to Jane's Addiction and finishing my snack. It's all ok. That's all part of my own hike, being me.

(What I need to change, for my own well being, I will change, as I can, or get help to change. That's a huge part of why I started doing these daily hikes in the first place! But I can't change by getting mad at myself for what is. I change by making a commitment and following through. Your mileage may vary.)

I Am Hiking My Own Hike.

Being in the moment and being aware of this moment, as it is, hiking my own hike also means not comparing that moment to my other moments to the detriment of this moment.

(OK, in this moment, I am actually typing. But writing is one of My Things and that's how I hike my own hike, too.)

In an earlier moment today, I was almost skipping downhill with delight because I had a huge hiking epiphany today and it lightened my whole being.

(Oh thank you, thank you, to the beauty of the autumning world and to the rain, and to myself, for processing through and into all these amazing epiphanies.)

Typing is not inherently better or worse than the hiking epiphany moment. It's just different. It is this moment, which is both the culmination of all my previous moments and the beginning of all my subsequent moments. I couldn't get to this moment typing without that moment hiking. And I won't get to the next hiking moment without this moment typing. It's an obvious trueism, but every moment leads to the next moment. My next moment would be different without this one. Still, it's too easy to only want the happy moments or the easy moments. That's not the way life works. Every moment counts.

I. Am. Hiking. My. Own. Hike. 

I. am. walking. (and typing) at. my. own. pace.

I am healing from (quite possibly Complex, and most definitely regular)PTSD at my own pace.

I may be huffing and puffing up this damn hill but I am doing it.

I may be gingerly picking my way or nimbly flying (depending on a variety of things including how my knees feel and how confident I am feeling) down this amazing hill, but I am doing it. I am doing it.

I am hiking my own hike!

Other people get to say what they'll say. My boundary isn't on what other people do or don't think or say. It's on my reaction. I am hiking my own hike.

And I am going to continue to Hike My Own Hike, every damn day. On the trail, and off.

(And I definitely will do my best to continue following Wheaton's Law.)