I’m used to being alone. I spent quite a bit of my life curled up in a corner with a book in my hand. Introvert. Loner. Nerd. Those were all labels that I wore as a soldier wears their medals, but to be honest, I look back on my life now and it wasn’t as traumatizing as it felt within the moment. It could be the passing of time dulling the sting or maybe the desire to no longer feel like a victim. But it seems very minuscule in the grand expansiveness of my life. I mean, I survived it and that’s what matters, right?
Yes, the scars are still there and I work with them daily to ease their hold over me, but they also remind me to always be grateful, to always show love and kindness, and to always play it smart. As I reflect, I realize that this personality that I seem to display now, the openness, the “social butterfly,” the jokester was always there. It peeked out here and there during high school and slowly emerged as I graduated college.
I’m still very much an introvert. Social interaction still leaves me drained at the end of the day, but my ability to navigate society has strengthened.
I say all of this to say that solitude was increasingly became a rarity in this last several months. Throughout this year, I was networking, going to tons of events, and constantly meeting new people until I was unable to go to a place without knowing someone or them knowing me.
This hike really nailed it home for me. It was the first hike in months that I took completely alone. It was the first time in a long time that I turned my phone off and shut out the world for a half an hour or so. It was the first time that I could actually reflect on my life and all of the things that have happened this year.
It helped that this wasn’t actually a “hike.” The path was well-worn and there were no hills to climb, so I walked along very leisurely. The short loop took me through a wooded area that looked strangely beautiful with all of the bare trees and fallen leaves covering most of the earth. The crisp air made my nose run, but cleared my cloudy mind.
It made me think of seasons of life and I feel another one coming on. Things are winding down for me. I’m becoming more comfortable with myself and my abilities. I’m becoming stronger. This season will be less focused on meeting new people and more on honing my skills. It’s time for the switch that has been bubbling beneath the surface for the last few months and I welcome it.
Previous Park Series Hikes
(* – Fall Hiking Spree eligible)
Thank you for reading,
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