What Hiking Taught Me About Life

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This past weekend I went on a backpack hiking trip with a group of other women. It was a tough trip for me. It was around 29 miles, over three days, with 46.3 pounds on my back over four passes all over 12,500 feet. For me, this was one of the hardest things I've ever done mentally and physically. I struggled but ultimately I finished the trek. 

I was the youngest one in my group of six, which was ranging from 23 to early 40s. We all struggled, some more than others at certain points but the most important thing was that we all finished at our own pace. 

I had a lot of time to think as I was walking up and down passes, and the hike made me realize something important—life, like hiking, is all about pace. 

I was the youngest one in our group and it was my first time hiking this loop, just like it was the first time for the 30-somethings and 40-somethings in the group. I realized it doesn't matter what age you are doing something at for the first time as long as you do it, and it's what you want to do. 

It taught me that no matter how fast you go, or how slow, how old, or young, you are that you can get there. You don't have to have everything accomplished in your 20s. Pace is different for everyone and that's fine. Everyone has a different path in life. Comparing yourself to where someone else is will never help you get where you want to be, you have to put in the work yourself to get there, too. 

Some people will always be the first to the top of the mountain, while other's are always dragging behind in the back, but either way they both get there just at their own pace. Life isn't a race, just like hiking, it's important to do what feels right for you and allow that to be enough so you don't hurt yourself or burn yourself out before getting where you want to be.

Everyone is given the same 24 hours in a day and it's up to every person what they do with them. 

Some people can write an entire book in a weekend, some people take years to do the same. Some people can create a successful enough following on social media to create a living without having to work a 9-5 job and some people can never get their business to take off the way they like. Every person is different, everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has different areas of knowledge and insights, and it's all about what you do with those things to create the life you want to live.

I used to get really stressed out about my accomplishments in my 20s (I know, it sounds crazy). I thought I had to accomplish everything in my 20s or else I would never be able to do it. But I know that's not true. I don't have to figure everything out right now and I won't be able to. Life is constantly changing and evolving along the way, and you'll set new goals along the path. 

Things will work out for you in some way, even if you feel like you're behind – you're not. Some people graduate college when they're 21, some people graduate when they're 41. Some people start a family when they're 23 and some don't start until they're 37. Some people land the job of their dreams when they're 25 and some don't land it until they're 50. Some people go on a backpacking trip for 29 miles when they're 23 and some when they're 42, and age is completely irrelevant because you're still checking checking off something on your list you really want to accomplish.

Everyone's timeline is different. It doesn't make anyone's timelines wrong or right. It's just how life falls into place for different people at different times . 

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the pace of life and it's even easier to feel behind at a certain age when you start comparing yourself to others but age is only a number. Don't let other's pace in life and success get you down because eventually you will get where you want to be. It just might take you a little longer to get there, and that's totally fine. It's not a race. 

Whether you're the first or the last one up the mountain, you still climbed it, and that's something you should be proud of. 

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Becca Martin