Many people dare to dream. While some dream big, some dream small, but to most, dreams are just that, wishes to do something extraordinary, life-changing, purposeful, adventurous, risky. Dreams may come and go, but some dreams stay, weighing on your conscience with each and every waking moment. I was no different. Many of my dreams got stuck in limbo or lost in life changes. As I lived out my everyday life as a father and a husband who was forging a career in an effort to provide stability for my family, there simply was no time to dream or to chase dreams, so I thought. I put many of my dreams on a shelf, like a book, in hopes that someday, in my golden years, I would have the time to read that book and act on them.
The golden years? What is that? Why wait? We only have one life to live, one chance to fully embrace our existence on this glorious planet, the opportunity is now. We all have the power to choose to rise, to live, and to Be_again, an again often. I will no longer put off following my dream for a fear that only I have manifested in my head, my “What if Story”. Aging teaches us many incredible life lessons, for I now know that I can handle anything that comes my way in the adventures of life. The passion and dream to thru-hike the Appalachian National Scenic Trail some 2,190 miles from Mt. Springer, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine have a grip on me so tight that it consumes my daily existence, just ask my wife, kids, family, and friends. Therefore, the mountains have called, and I must go. On March 31st, 2019, I will do just that. Not dare to dream, but to follow a dream and live that book and write a new chapter to be etched into my history.
The Appalachian Trail, or simply called the A.T. is one of America’s oldest walking paths. It was completed in 1937, which is an amazing story of itself. Every spring, around 2,500 people set out to claim the title of thru-hiker, which means to hike every step, pass every white blaze (trail marking) in a single season. While less than 20% percent of those who set out actually finish, I’m determined, with the support of family, friends, and fellow hikers, to be one of the 20%. There is no doubt that this will be the most challenging adventure that I’ve ever embarked on, both physically and mentally. The A.T. has been known to be life altering in many ways. Many set off on a mission seeking out to find themselves, lose themselves, to restore spirituality, to find faith, to rejoice in life, or to mourn a loss. For me, I seek all of those.
For the lack of better words, I’ve announced my retirement to my employer from my career job in early March to make way for this grand journey. I say “retirement” with “tongue in cheek” for what does it mean to really retire? Do we just stop working, learning, and living, only to fade off into the sunset on a horse over the horizon, or to drop over dead as a doornail? I want neither…I’m simply just hitting the pause button of my everyday routine, my ordinary life, to finally take the time for me to create an extraordinary life. To not put off a could have, only to live out the so-called golden years saying that I should have. Work is just that, work, and I finally realize that my career didn’t define me as the person I am today, or whom I really want to be. While I’m extremely appreciative of my career accomplishments, and all of the people and things in my life, leaving my career was the first step, a fearful step, in surrendering myself to The Universe and its divine plan. Work will be there in some shape or form when I come back in 6 months. but right now, I won’t say I’ll be missing it.
Shift, shape, live, love, laugh, cry and never give up on your dreams. You do have a choice to make it happen and to Be_again. I will. “Purpose” – A.T. Hiker Class of 2019