To paraphrase Dr Seuss; don’t be sad that it is over, be happy that it happened.
I’ve deliberated substituted cry for sad and smile for happy. It’s not the physical action, it’s the emotion that I cling to.
The photo above has me looking like a dishevelled Fonz, I’m only missing the double thumbs up. As the main character in Happy Days, it really couldn’t me more apt.
It was taken on what was probably the physically hardest day of the entire trip. Not quite, but virtually, at the top of a six hour climb; Piedra del Molino. Whilst I take a large dose of satisfaction that I managed to get to the top, the knowledge I had the gumption to think I could do it, to try, is the pure essence of what this whole trip was about.
I rolled the furry dice and took a chance.
My time left in Argentina now counted in days rather than weeks is all too apparent to me. I feel I’m slipping, slipping down the slope, like a climber falling down the snowy side of a mountain desperately trying to arrest his fall with an ice axe.
I’m not slipping to my death, I’m merely returning to the land of my birth. Returning to my friends and family. I’m not swinging an axe to arrest my fall, I’m recalling memories.
A few weeks ago, I took my mind back to Ushuaia and started recounting the trip in my head. Apart from when I travelled with Jan, my Norwegian friend, I could remember every single place I camped, a mental picture of the area, the road, the trees, where the tent was.
Every single one.
The fact I could recall that level of detail over such a long period really made me think. Maybe it shows the intensity I felt during those periods alone. It definitely must show that I considered where I was going to camp, weighing up if it was a good idea or not.
Sometimes I wish I was that free spirit, the relaxed individual who doesn’t think so much, who truly doesn’t care. Inside me though is a fire that wants to do ‘things’ well, to find a way to make things better, to improve and pass that on.
Give me something mechanical and I’ll take it apart to find out how it works, I want to know so I can try and fix it if it breaks.
Before this trip I did the same thing with my body to find a way to allow it to cycle vast distances. Although I didn’t take it apart….I read and read and read to educate myself and find a way to fix my specific problems. It worked, the dodgy knees didn’t fail me, they might have reminded me at times they weren’t happy but I knew what to do.
The mental side is much harder, I’m not even sure it is possible to self diagnose what is causing you issues and find a way to fix it. You need a second brain. It’s easier to have another person.
You’ll find a wealth of information on the internet about bikes, equipment, routes, training but never anything about coping strategies for mental struggles.
If you dare to talk about it, often the advice is ‘Man up’, HTFU, ‘grit your teeth’, ‘get on with it’. Put what you are feeling in a box and shut the lid.
I’d rather try and work out why it’s happening so I can try to prevent it happening again. But that’s just me. I’m trying to improve myself as an individual, to grow, to evolve, to be more than I believe I can be.
I’m trying to live rather than exist. To enjoy my life and spread as much love and happiness around as I can.
Am I sad it is over?
How can I be?