I have been very candid about the difficulties of transition from the trail back to the indoor world. From very profound post trail depression, to the end of a trail romance, feeling displaced, and being unemployed for several months…the transition was tough.
But here’s the thing: it still is.
Five months and five days after summiting Katahdin (but who’s keeping track?), I’m afraid my life is every bit as directionless and unknown as it was the day I walked out of the woods for good. The post trail depression is gone. I no longer feel so aimless, lost, and heartbroken that I can’t see my way out of the hole I’m in…but, I can fully recognize that I’m in some sort of hole. Again.
It is all just a little confusing.
I have a job that I [theoretically] love. Unfortunately, the reality of taking over a class mid-year, teaching in a large urban school district, and being held to unfair and biased evaluation standards makes the day-to-day quite trying. I absolutely love teaching. I truly do. And I love the exciting new things that I’ve been given the room to implement in my class, but the stresses of the past few weeks have me questioning if this is what I want to devote my life to.
When I put it like that, the only logical conclusion that I can reach is that I’m just not a career type girl. I’d rather spend the hours and months of my life climbing mountains than climbing career ladders. The only responsibility I want to have is to myself and to the natural places I choose to live and roam. I am so incredibly heartsick for the days of absolute freedom on the trail that I took for granted.
Is it selfish of me to live this way? To bring the ideals of the trail into my every day existence? I hope not. I have spent so many years “trapped” by the “obligations” that I felt were paramount. It turns out, however, that my most pressing obligation is my own happiness. My own sanity. Creating a life that is fulfilling, renewing, strengthening will lead me to a life that will easily satisfy any obligations I may have.
Even as recently as this week, I have passed over job opportunities or dismissed hiking/adventure opportunities because of my obligations to work, my connections to a place. I thought that six months of living for me would be enough. I thought that I’d be ready to come back, settle down, plug in. What I’m beginning to understand is that I need to live for me. Always.
I’m still trying to figure out just what exactly that really means.