Some people return to city life and battle with depression. Others hike all summer and integrate back into society seamlessly.
I’m not depressed. But things are not normal either.
Or maybe they are.
We’ve been off the trail for almost 5 weeks.
I miss the PCT.
I miss the simplicity, beauty, quiet and slow pace of Nature.
I miss sleeping under a blanket of stars. I miss waking up cold but refreshed, eagerly awaiting the rising sun and chasing the next view after a long climb.
And I miss the sense of accomplishment I felt everyday.
We would wake up and have a plan – hike from point X to point Y, finding water along the way, and overcoming whatever physical, mental or actual road blocks lay in our way.
Thru-hiking was tough but simple.
It was rewarding.
It was fun.
It was stress free most of the time.
My body and mind miss these simple pleasures and simple ways of being.
The constant buzz of a society that never sleeps seems to follow me around like a hornets nest.
It sounds louder than ever before.
Some nights it’s hard to sleep. And we live in a relatively quiet part of town.
I’m also going through a coming-of-age of sorts.
I’m asking myself questions that I’ve been pondering since my mid 20s.
I pondered these questions throughout the hike too.
What do I want to do with my life?
What am I passionate about?
What career path do I want to take?
The answers to these questions don’t come overnight.
I don’t expect to wake up one morning and have it all figured out.
I expect to dibble dabble in this and that and figure it out over time.
And I’m ok with that.
But Laurie isn’t.
She wants reassurance. She wants me to have a plan, a direction. And she wants it now.
I don’t blame her.
Actually, I understand and appreciate where she’s coming from.
She wants security. She wants me to be a sure thing, not a wildcard. She’s already got enough of those in her life.
But right now she is filled with doubt and feels like she is gambling by being with me – and she is NOT a gambler.
We work at different speeds. This is not news to either of us.
I knew I’d need at least a month, maybe two months, to figure things out before I started working.
I expressed this to Laurie many times on the trail.
And I even told her that this would likely be met with resistance from her.
But I never thought it would be this challenging. I didn’t foresee us having as many engaged, open hearted discussions as we’ve had.
I must say, I really command Laurie for having the courage to voice her feelings. It’s uncomfortable and painful, but boy is she strong!
We are trying to find a middle ground. We are taking hard looks at ourselves, at one another and our relationship and constantly pondering what we really want.
We’ve created a very strong foundation over the years – with trust and honesty as its pillars. This foundation allows us to be fully open with one another.
For that I am grateful.
And I am hopeful too.
Hopeful we will find a common language again and feel like we are on the same team again, like we were on the trail.
Most people thought thru hiking as a couple would be the greatest challenge for our relationship. And if we could live in a tent together for 6 months we would be just fine.
Who would have guessed the hike was going to be the easy part?