I’d like to think a few of you made the decision to take a few minutes every day to increase your time outside; getting out for a post-turkey stroll or taking the kids to the hill. Maybe, since you were on holidays, you even got out every single day for a few hours, simply because you had the extra time.
Time is a tricky thing and can definitely prevent you from doing everything you want to do. I did speak about time and the need to have time management skills in an earlier post but in order to even try to carve out so outdoorsy time, there’s a step before that that has to occur. You need to choose to want to find some time. I ended the last post on that note: the need to make a choice.
That’s all life really is – a series of choices and it’s up to you to figure out what’s important. I’ve heard the full gambit of complaints from people (as I’m sure you have) ranging from hating their job/career, disliking the community they’re in, or being unhappy with their body. How is it that some of us can be so fulfilled and generally just really happy and others, in seemingly similar situations, are not? In the end, it comes down to choice. It’s about realizing what is truly important to you, where your priorities lay, and figuring out the best manner in accomplishing steps that fit those priorities.
I am a realist though and I know it can be downright hard and scary. When you’re trying to balance a mortgage and kids, how can you possible squeeze in 15 minutes (let alone an hour!) of some outside time? Or what about those crazy people that take entire summers off to do some crazy adventure? Those things may not always be feasible for people and we do have responsibilities, be it elder or child care, financial constraints, or health limitations but it is possible to make choices in your life to bring your wants in line with your realities.
I’ve been asked by friends and family how it’s possible that we were able to cycle Canada and then now my next (solo) adventure of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s expensive, right? I used to think we were “lucky” but I’ve come to realize over the years that we’re not particularly lucky, we just make choices and decisions that are in line with how we want to live. We’ve been a one vehicle household for years, we now live in a small house, we limit the “stuff” (such as clothing) we buy…we make choices. Adam and I both have vivid memories of a time a friend mentioned how it “must be nice to be able to afford to go to Peru for 3 weeks”. Adam merely smiled and nodded towards his boat he was literally cleaning at the time and said “it’s how we choose to spend our money”.
Money tends to be a big constraint for many and the other factor is family (and both of those are definitely intricately linked). What do you do when you have 2 weeks vacation and a 6 and 8 year old? Taking 5 months of for a solo hiking trip is likely not possible! But there are alternatives and compromises that can be made to align your desire to be out hiking while maintaining the responsibilities of home. They may be smaller than you had wanted but I have seen so many friends find pure joy in simply introducing their kids to the outdoors. You make a choice to incorporate those activities as every day. A 6 and 8 year old can carry small backpacks on their first backpacking trip. Locally, the kids are put in ski boots before they can even walk by themselves and it seems every child has a run bike. I swear, by the time a kid is 3 around here, they can ski or bike more confidently than they can walk or run!
It’s about creating a mindset that fosters positive and healthy thoughts and feelings. Two people can go for the same snowy-day walk but it’s up to you to decide if that walk is refreshing and invigorating or miserable and cold. What’s your choice?