I stand atop Mt. Katahdin and gut scream like king-kong on The Empire State building. The location of the journey’s end for most thru-hikers, I am just beginning my adventure. I look at the sign stating the location as a bookend of one of the greatest stretches of wilderness in the United States. I can’t help myself but to feel alive enough to look like a seasoned hiker. I am free. I am standing on top of the world with my whole life ahead of me.
I have no place to look back, the beginning is beneath me, the adventure lies solely in the distance beyond my eye’s reach.
For the past nineteen years my shoes have been water logged, my back strained, my legs tired, my head stressed, and my emotions a whirl. Now I am set. I have one task. I have no responsibilites, no ties, no commitment, no debt, no relation, no expectations. I am, in every essence of the word, free.
For the past nineteen years I have done as I was told. I did exactly what everyone expected me to do, what is considered “normal”. But this year I realized that normal is not how I want to live.
Sure routine is easy. Working on an assembly line has led us to believe that life is routine. We get comfortable and we hesitate to stray from comfort. I could go flip burgers for the rest of my life. I fell into that comfort. It sucked me in and it was so enticing. It is so much harder to plan an Appalachian trail thru-hike.
So I am avoiding total insanity with routine. I certainly don’t know how long I am going to live but maybe forty is where the string is cut for me. Maybe this is my mid-life crisis. I just know that I cannot grow up and look back and realize that I missed my chance to do what I wanted to do. I don’t have a prospective wife. I don’t have debt. Nothing is holding me back. And so I am about to reach freedom.
Yeah so I still have to follow the laws of physics just like everything else in our universe. But what I don’t have to follow are the laws of civilization and normalcy. My feet itch really bad. It’s hard to live in the present when the future holds such freedom for me.