As an avid short distance hiker for years, I am fascinated by the authors' decision to leave their everyday lives behind and embark on solo journeys on foot for more than 2,000 miles. I am in awe of their dedication and devotion to a single goal. I am quite sure I would not last more than 100 miles.
One common denominator expressed by all the authors was their sense of rebirth and invigoration after stepping out of their comfort zone and trying something new. Their adventures made me realize that we don't necessarily have to strap on a backpack, head into the great outdoors for months and confront bears with cubs to find new meaning in our lives. Sometimes trying a new sport, enrolling in a new course or hooking up with an old friend is all it takes.
The other night I was struggling through a game of tennis with my husband. My wrist was sore, the court was hot and stuffy and I didn't really feel like playing. On the next court, four people were playing an engaging game of pickleball, a racquet sport that is sort of a cross between ping pong and tennis. So what if the average age of pickleball players is 75? It tooked like a lot of fun. When the game ended, I was invited to try it and loved it _ even though my team lost twice.
I loved it because it was something new that combined my passion for sports with a sense of fun. Another game is scheduled for this week and I'm looking forward to having another go at it.
In his moving memoir entitled "AWOL on the Appalachian Trail," author David Miller talks at the end about the importance of pursuing your dreams even after you are married with children. His words resonated with me because often as parents, we put off our own hopes and desires for the sake of our children.
"It's important for parents to continue with their own lives," Miller writes. "We can't sit by and say we've already made our decisions, done our striving, and dish out opinions on the doings of our children. Words alone lack authority, and we risk making them surrogates for the life we'd like to lead. We can better relate to our children if we follow dreams of our own."