The other morning, I was getting ready for an interview for a job I swore I would never go back to. As I was in a rush to put on my pantyhose, I noticed a run spanning the length of my leg. Panic immediately ensued. How could this be happening? I looked down at the pantyhose, and cursed them. Really, pantyhose? Now?
When it seemed like there couldn’t possibly be anything worse happening to me, I recalled an experience from less than a month before–I almost died of hypothermia in the middle of the wilderness. This thought brought the whole situation of this morning back into clear perspective. It was just a minor fiasco, comparatively.
This past summer, I worked as a TrailWalker for the Anasazi Foundation. It was the most incredible, most difficult, most taxing experience of my life. Everyday I had to push myself to my limits physically, spiritually, and emotionally. And now, here I was, back at home, and the world around me felt as if it was collapsing because of run in my stocking.
While on the trail, I came to realize that things that I had taken for granted in life truly were significant. I began to appreciate how wonderful toilet paper is and what a blessing it is to turn on the faucet and have clear, untainted water fill my eager cup. While on the trail, what I had previously regarded as constants in my life suddenly ceased to exist. I can now open up my pantry and have my choice of so many foods–and I don’t have to carry all of that food on my back! And flavor exists here–spicy, salty, sour, sweet! At home I don’t have to spend hours trying to bust a coal in order to make a fire for cooking my food and finding warmth. At home, most commodities are provided to me with the simple turn of a knob. How incredible that seems!
What is it that happens to us when we experience a life-altering event, then suddenly find ourselves back in the same old place where we began? How do you hold onto the person you became as a result of your travels and trials after returning to your normal, prosaic life? How do you hold on to the lessons that you have learned? How do you prevent yourself from backsliding into the person you were before you left? How do you walk forward when you return from an adventure?
I have decided to take on a project confronting these specific questions. In the coming weeks, I will dive into the matter of how we alter our perceptions of the here and now so that they become just as fulfilling, just as challenging, just as magical as the previous adventures we have faced.