Everyone needs a little self-improvement, right? That’s why I’ve set a personal challenge for the month of July to tweak here and there areas in my life that need some extra attention. Nothing radical mind you. Just little things I can do to bring more clarity, more joy, and more vitality to improve my daily routine.
Day 4: Don’t Settle — Dig Deeper
My problem: It is so easy to just be satisfied with the same old-same old especially the older I get. However, complacency can be a crutch. Even though it might be scary, finding and accepting new challenges is where true growth comes.
My goal: Give it all I’ve got with new challenges.
My plan: Don’t shy away from opportunities that take me out of my comfort zone.
We had made our typical Fourth of July plans for today: go to a church sponsored 5k Faith and Freedom Run/Flag Raising/Pancake Breakfast. I have attended this annual event — give or take with other family members– for the past 26 years. Only a few years were we out of town for July 4th. this has been our at home tradition.
Then late last night I got an invitation to go on a hike with three other ladies. They were all experienced hikers and wanted to include me in on their weekly activity. It was going to be steamy today in Southern California (highs near 100 with humidity) so we needed to start early if we were going to complete the 6-1/2 mile loop before it got too hot. Early meant being picked up at 6:15 a.m. I could have easily said “No, thank you.” Stick with my solid, predictable plans. After all, I haven’t gone on a hike like this for probably 12 years. But these ladies were kind enough to include me. What the heck? Don’t settle and dig deeper.
We went to Sycamore Canyon in Claremont, California.
Sherie T. was our ring leader. She knew the trail. She told me, “It just goes up a little at the beginning, then it flattens out for a nice hike.” OK — I could do that. Ha!! NOt quite. the beginning was really STEEP with switchbacks that each time we rounded a corner I would think, “Phew-I made it to the top,” but then there would be another climb. We would reach a plateau and Sherie would announce, ” OK — just a little more.” that went on for about an hour.
When we finally made it to what I thought was the end, Sherie announced that we were all going to “Dig deep inside and find within us the ability to go straight up this steep climb. You will feel so good when you make it to the top.” I’m not going to lie… that last hellish climb just about did me in. The other ladies let me take my pace. I slipped a couple of times on the gravel. At some parts, the best (and only) way to keep going was to traverse sideways. I was the last one to the top and I felt like I was going to throw up. IT WAS HARD but I MADE IT!!!
We rested briefly before heading back down the way we came. Going down gives you a lot different perspective. We had gone up a VERY STEEP incline. It felt good to be heading south but we were passing other hikers just starting out, going up the same trail we had hiked an hour before. I made sure to tell everyone we passed, “You are doing great,” or “You are terrific,” to encourage them. In most cases, they lit up and waked a little stronger when I encouraged them.
Right before we reached the bottom, we passed a gentlemen starting out. I rendered my “You are great,” greeting and he replied, “I don’t know about that but I am old.” “How old are you,” I asked. “EIGHTY FOUR YEARS OLD,” he replied. Wow. My hero.
We finished in 2-1/2 hours. It felt great to dig deeper (but man am I tired).
What did I learn? I could have took the easy way a number of times, but I stuck with the experienced gals and was able to complete the challenge. In order to dig deeper, it took conviction, overcoming fears and complacency, and definitely encouragement from friends. Best of all, I DID IT!!!
Guess what? I already have it on my calendar to do it again next week.
Day 4: Don’t Settle — Dig Deeper