The truth is: I don’t really know what to say.
Halfway through this year-long journey, it started to become clearer and clearer that I was going to fail…and fail BIG.
The practical truth: I cannot afford, for a multitude of reasons, to go to Macchu Picchu this year. Even though I planned, even though I saved, even though I researched and found the group I wanted to go with and put down a deposit and read all the books and blogs and articles…even though I so badly wanted to be the kind of person who took off with abandon to hike the Inca trail by herself- the truth is, it just isn’t going to happen for me this year.
I spent a lot of time grieving this. As you can see, I haven’t written in a couple of months. It was too painful to admit to myself, let alone publicly, that I fulfilled my own prophecy that I was going to fail at this- my biggest goal for the “before I’m 30” bucket list.
I was in denial for awhile…
As friends and family asked I kept on saying “yeah, totally I can make it work, I can make it work,”- when in my heart I already knew it wasn’t going to happen. My chest tightened every time it was brought up. The stress became physical and turned into anxiety. My body knew before my brain did that I was going to fail very publicly.
Then I got angry…
Really angry. “WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN?! Why is it when the plans are for ME that they fall through? Why am I able to go on “vacations” (that if I’m totally honest aren’t relaxing to me at all) with my mom or my boyfriend or his family and all these trips to make other people happy at the expense of my own well-being/career/timing/happiness- but when it’s time for ME it NEVER GOES RIGHT?!”
Then came bargaining…
“Okay. Maybe if I take X amount out of savings and I don’t go anywhere for my birthday or Christmas, or if I cancel these other things maybe I can somehow figure out a way?” etc. etc.
And then…the Depression.
The dark, dark pit of depression. The negative voices that I work so hard each day to keep at bay come creeping in…”Of course you failed at this. You were kidding yourself. You never follow through on anything. You’re a big failure. You don’t deserve success. You don’t deserve money. You don’t deserve the happiness that comes with success because what have you ever really succeeded at?”.
It says a lot that the depression thoughts are still the easiest thing for me to write. I don’t even have to think about it. They roll right off my fingertips in an avalanche of weird comfort and ease. I know these thoughts. These thoughts are easy. It becomes so tempting to just marinate in them and get lost in this step.
But then I realized a few things…
- Even just MAKING this list, in and of itself, has forced me out of my comfort zone to do things I never would have done otherwise. And I already fucking DID them. I’ve crossed things off. And there are things I continue to cross off. So I’ve already succeeded.
- Just because I don’t hike the Inca Trail before my 30th birthday does not mean I never will. I’m not going to shrivel up into useless dust on November 10th. In fact, if I’m betting, I’ll probably be in the best shape of my life because…
- Training for the Inca Trail has given me a LOVE of hiking and a new group of friends, new memories, new gear, new confidence- and none of that is going to go away just because I delay this trip. I’m going to keep hiking and training until the time is right to re-book AND BEYOND.
- If I’m totally honest, I’m really relieved. I was getting really stressed out by the thought of having to plan another big trip and be gone from work and my life again for another big chunk of time, let alone the stress of knowing my body wasn’t prepared for the trip and wasn’t going to get prepared enough in just 1 month. There was the safety issue of being alone in South America, the small but present threat of Zica (made more of an issue by the fact that I am childbearing age and absolutely want kids in the next 3-5 years), to say nothing of the financial burden.
- And…and this is a REALLY big admission for me…I kinda want to wait and do it with someone special. It’s hard to admit to myself that I want to share the experience with someone and that maybe I’m not as OK on my own as I thought. But that’s a thought for another day.
And so, the only thing left is acceptance. And part of acceptance is forgiveness.
I am working to forgive myself for these feelings and this failure. It’s hard. It’s hard fucking work to keep the thought monsters at bay and keep my head above the waters of depression. To put on a happy face when people ask “aren’t you going to Macchu Picchu later this year?”. But I do accept that it isn’t going to happen this year. And it’s ok. It’s not great, but its’ ok. And in the meantime, I’m happy to be back working on the rest of this list. Because just because I failed at one piece of the puzzle, doesn’t mean I’m going to give up putting myself together.