It’s been far too long since I felt the sting of an icy wind hitting my face. Months have passed since I lazily stared into a campfire of my own creation, with nobody but my own self to discuss it with. I haven’t dunked into a mountain creek after a long march, and I haven’t been woken up by annoying crows, rather than an annoying alarm clock.
I have every opportunity to walk off into the woods for a day or two. It doesn’t cost much, other than the gas to get there. Winter has never stopped me either, in fact, I favor the winter when I’m out in the “back-of-beyond”. There are no insects, no stifling humidity, and most of all, no people. I can be truly alone with my thoughts, my triggers, and my memories. I can process the self-pity and pessimism that rears its ugly head every so often, without a facebook notification, ringing phone, or a TV interrupting me.
I don’t have any real excuses as to why I haven’t at least taken a day or two to be alone in nature in the past 4 months. But oh, do I sure try to find them. I have slowly been becoming grumpier. Angrier at minutia. Pessimistic and spiteful at the situation that I was thrust into. It’s a negative feedback loop...the more I NEED to be in those woods, the less I have the ambition to get up and go.
I’m using all of the tricks to talk myself out of it and avoid. I think it’s time to have a discussion of these finer points with myself. A “heart-to-heart”, if you will, with my own. It’s a time where, as I wrote over three years ago not long after Megan’s death, I need to flip the switch from suffering to determination. To dust myself off, climb out of my fighting hole, and just friggin’ DO IT.
Let’s talk, self. Have a seat and lets discuss the reasons your ambition is all but gone.
Well, to start, I’m out of shape.
So? It’s never stopped you before. It’s not like you suddenly went from your 21-year-old self to 37. And besides, hauling 45 pounds on your back as you climb a mountain isn’t exactly going to put you in WORSE shape!
Well, true, but sometimes my knees hurt.
Boo hoo. Remember that thing you once were proud to call yourself? What was that? Oh yeah…”Marine”. Remember when you told your platoon Sergeant that your knees hurt and how loving and thoughtful he was, putting Finding Nemo on for you, giving you a blankie and a juice box, and telling you that it would all be OK? I didn’t think so. You never told him that, because you were PROUD that you marched through any pain because it needed to happen.
Yeah, I guess you’re right.
Well, either way, I don’t want to spend the money to drive 4 hours to the mountains. I’m trying to save money right now.
It’s going to cost a hell of a lot more for therapy and prozac. You know as well as I do that the wilderness is better therapy for you than anything else. You have the budget for it too. Stop leaning on “money” as an excuse.
OK, well I’ll miss Sarah and Shelby.
And they’ll miss you too, which is what you’re really afraid of here. You took those trips when Megan was alive, and when you got home, you didn’t feel like you were “missed”. You were, dumbass, it’s just that Megan had bigger things on her mind...like dying at age 34. Stop letting it screw you up. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, dummy.
I’ll think about it. It also feels wrong to make Sarah watch Shelby by herself all weekend.
Oh, OK. Well true, Sarah HAS said that she hates being around Shelby, and that even the suggestion that she’s some kind of glorified babysitter makes her spiteful of you...right?
Right. She loves Shelby, and Shelby loves her. They enjoy having “girl time” just like Shelby and Megan did. Their relationship no longer revolves around you being present. Do you fear you’re going to “miss out” on something fun, while you’re out, you know, having fun?
Well, it’s cold out.
Wear a coat.
Wear a rain coat.
I’m too busy at home.
Busy? You’ve spent far more time watching Netflix and telling yourself there is too much going on than you have planning to take 24 hours in the forest. You’re actually looking for things to do just to avoid going out.
Sigh. You’re just contradicting everything I say, self.
Isn’t that what I’m here for?
I guess you’re right, but…
Here we go.
I was going to say, I guess you’re right, but work is really stressing me out. I’m always connected. I’m always waiting for someone to contact me with some kind of IT problem. I don’t want to let them down, and I don’t want to seem distant or not part of the team there. It actually cause me anxiety to be DISconnected for a few days.
No it doesn’t. You’re spiraling with this crap. Your company will survive. You’ve already gotten plans in place in case you’re unavailable, so become unavailable. Make no mistake, I know you have a sense of duty to them, but hell, you went back to work TWO days after Megan died. They pay you a salary, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use some of the other benefits too, like vacation time. You’re becoming too blind to see that you’re working yourself into the grave, even when you’re not at work.
Well what do you think I should do then?
I think you should stop talking to yourself, and go spend a few nights in the woods.