It’s a grey winter morning, suitably dreary given my mood. I’ve got a million details to deal with and there’s only a week left before we start our decent of the Grand Canyon. I know I’m vastly unprepared to take on this tough a hike. I know I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. There’s so much to worry about that I wish I hadn’t signed up to do this.
What? Me worry? You bet. I’m a chronic worrier.
Nothing is straightforward about my life. I’m the one responsible for everything. If there’s going to be hay in the barn, I’ve got to haul it in. If there’s going to be water in the storage tanks I’ve got to pump it up. If there’s going to be water in the house, I’ve got to pipe it over. If the house is going to stay warm in winter, I’ve got to schlep the wood inside and then keep the fire going.
And I’ve got critters.
My cats are ancient and one of them seems to be on her last legs. My horses aren’t quite ancient yet, but all but one are in their mid-20s or older, and my youngest (8) has to be watched closely because she’s prone to laminitis. I’ve only had my dog, Izzy, for three weeks and already I’m leaving her in the care of someone else.
What if Izzy feels abandoned? What if she runs off? What if the road is so bad that my sister and brother-in-law can’t get in here? What if something happens to the horses? What if my cats have problems? What if the house gets too cold and my plants die? What if… what if..
I’m suffering from pre-gig nerves. Stage fright, you could say — last minute second-guessing that can wreck the show. Or at least make me dread doing something I really want to do. I’m also a person who likes to push the envelope. The combination is nerve wracking.
Fortunately I have coping mechanisms in place. Coping, mind you — I can’t just make these feelings go away. But years of endurance racing plus the discipline of living outback as I do have taught me enough about how I’m feeling now to let me get through it. I can remind myself that I really am prepared, that my adventure will be an adventure regardless of how it turns out, and that I’ve already experienced terrible things that have happened at home while I was gone and survived it.
I can remind myself to focus on the facts, and to appreciate where I am right now.
- FACT: Just two days ago Laura and Izzy and I hiked nearly 12 miles and I had no problems whatsoever.
- FACT: My sister and brother-in-law love dogs and are looking forward to spending time with Izzy. She will be loved on. She’ll get to go in the truck with them, go on walks with them, and will sleep near them at night.
- FACT: My horses are healthy, have thick coats and are in good weight. They could go a week without eating and not starve to death. There’s enough water in their trough for them to make it that long without it being refilled. And I know that my sister and brother-in-law would hike in if they couldn’t drive in, anyway.
- FACT: My cats really are old – the oldest is 18 –and they aren’t going to be around very long no matter what. This isn’t the first time they’ve been left alone and they’re not so starved for attention that they won’t hide when Dede & Jeff come into the house to check on them anyway.
- FACT: My plants can go to Laura’s house — she’s got “normal” heating — and the ones too large to move will either make it or they won’t, but they’ve survived a cold house before.
- FACT: I’ve hiked the Grand Canyon before with two bum hips and I managed it. I’ve got good hips now and I’ve conditioned more. Okay, hiking the Canyon’s not going to be a piece of cake, but it definitely will be a slice of pizza. (Sorry. I’ve had pizza on my mind.)
- FACT: I know from the past that mere minutes after this adventure is over I will be plotting and planning on doing it again.
Anyway, while this blog post today is mostly venting, it also serves to shore myself up even though a wee part of me wants to curl up in a ball and hide. I have learned through experience that caving in means missing out on the kind of life I want to live. Besides, security is a foreign feeling to me in so many ways that I might as well choose adventure.
But there’s a price that I pay for that adventure. I can accept it or not adventure anymore. That’s just the way it is, and to one degree another, that’s true for all of us.