The other day after I hiked in the Boise foothills, I joked with some friends:
Two paths diverged on the trail
And I, I wondered which one
Led to my car.
New paths are disorienting. And sometimes you wander down the wrong one for a while.
I made it back to my car that day, thankfully, prompting one of my friends, who is at least intellectual enough to catch a Robert Frost reference, to respond with “And that has made all the difference”.
But one of the risks of hiking on new trails is getting lost. Yes, I’ve got a copy of the trails map, but I confess it often looks like someone dumped a bowl of spaghetti on the foothills. So. Many. Trails.
And so learning the trails is part of the deal when you start hiking as much as I am trying to do. I already knew a few of them, but there are so many more to discover. Thankfully, Justin knows them all. And I have many other friends here who have been running/biking/hiking these trails for years who are willing to show them to me.
Spending so much time on trails, I’ve been thinking of the trails in my mind, the pathways in my brain, and how they connect to my choices. The trail that leads to sitting on the couch and checking Facebook is well paved and easy to walk. The trail that leads me to get my butt out the door in the morning to go for a hike is rockier. It has been used less frequently the past few years. It could use some trail restoration and clean up.
Each time I ignore the luring cries of the “you’ve got too much work to do” path or the “come eat more guacamole” path, and head out for a hike, I can feel the healthy pathway getting clearer, and wider, and easier to find and navigate.
Some people would call this “habit”. I’m not a big fan of “habit” or “will power” language. If it works for you, great. When I think of habit, I think of the Vince Lombardi quote: “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing”. Habit makes me feel I’m a slave to a compulsion–good or bad.
I like better this image of finding other paths. Some days the paths are easier to walk than others. And some days, you end up lost and calling out for help.
And this new path brings with it other benefits. I don’t really believe in scales (well, I believe they exist, but I’m not a fan of them) so I don’t know how much weight I’m losing. But I can feel myself getting stronger. I can feel myself getting healthier. A trail that took me 45 minutes a week ago only took me 35 minutes today. And I heard meadowlarks and saw magpies. So, that’s a bonus.
As I blogged last month, I need to get my health in order. So I will check in with my doc in a month and have my blood drawn again. We’ll see if those pesky triglycerides are responding to the vegetables. We’ll see if my cholesterol looks better. I’ll get on a scale. I could definitely see where the path of unhealth was taking me. And I did not like it. Not one little bit.
So, here’s to new paths!
Thanks for walking with me on this journey.
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.