I’m So Tired, Please Help.
Waikaremoana is a beautiful lake nestled in hills and surrounded by dense forests. It’s hard to find and few folks take the time to escape the rat race to go there while the tortuous road to the lake takes its toll by assaulting those foolhardy enough to accept its challenge.
As they fell out of their cramped little SUV’s and enjoyed the forgotten luxury of stretching, the group was dismayed to learn that their first day of this four-day trek involved climbing that hill. That one? Why that one? Aren’t trails supposed to go around impassable barriers like that?
Their guide assured them that it was indeed, “That hill!” There was no other way to trek around the lake. He explained that going the opposite way meant coming down that hill and always resulted in nasty knee injuries. “We go up it! Now let’s get moving before we run out of daylight reaching the first hut.”
Excitement tends to get overshadowed by exertion so the group gradually lost its excited chatter. The trail went mercilessly up, ever up. Every corner promised to be the turning point in the trail but, in turn, each one proved to be a lie. Up. Up. Up. . . .
Exhaustion follows exertion if you do it for long enough and the whole group was hurting by the time they finally reached the top. They decided as they sat gazing at the amazing view that the real problem with the hill (apart from its insane slope) was that it came too early in the trek – they hadn’t had time to warm up and find their pace before that heartbreaking climb. The upside of doing that climb right at the start was that since it was over now, the rest of the trek would seem so easy.
Michelle was real quiet and kind of spacey. She had lagged the whole way up the hill and that was so out of character for her. When the guide began to move on, she could barely scrape up the energy to follow him. The whole group took their time as they hiked the next section but Michelle couldn’t keep up with them. She lagged further behind. It was too dangerous to leave anyone alone on the trail and so some of the group sauntered along at her pace just to be sure she was safe. No one liked to see her struggling like that.
The guide finally left the main group on break to go back and check on Michelle. She’d all but given up. He realized that she wasn’t going much further so he took action.
“Share her pack around the rest of the group,” he said, “there’s no way she is going to carry anything herself.”
It was then that her friends were stunned. Her pack contained all the usual hiking items but at the bottom was the part they hadn’t expected – her pack was stuffed mostly with textbooks! Heavy tomes on stuff like microbiology and chemistry. What was she thinking?
Turns out she wasn’t doing so well in her studies but she didn’t want to miss on this trip of a lifetime. She felt guilty about not studying and realized that if she didn’t improve her grades, her college days were over. She wanted to be with her friends but she needed to study. Her solution was to bring the books, all forty pounds of them. She might have been able to do it but for that hill (and the fact that she was barely five feet tall with a small frame.) Her friends had trouble carrying the extra load on the undulating trail so they couldn’t imagine the energy Michelle had been burning – all because of guilt! They puzzled over how she expected to walk all day and study all night – by flashlight?
Michelle eventually trudged all the way to the first hut but the blisters, dehydration and fatigue had done their work and next morning the rangers came and took her by boat to get medical attention. They took her books too.
She was a smart and lively girl who enjoyed being the life and soul of every party. She loved friends and fun so much that her goals for life were at risk. She tried to resolve her conflicts by the time-honored method of compromise. Her guilt drove her to attempt what everyone knew was ridiculous and unnecessary, but it was her way of “having her cake and eating it too.”
Actually, we all have some of Michelle’s smarts in us. We want to do everything and keep up with everyone else even though we haven’t got the time. We want to find the compromise that lets us do it all, now. We hope the consequences won’t hurt too much when the hammer finally falls. We go through life carrying impossible burdens we don’t need to carry, we carry them because of our poor choices and our need to compromise. We exhaust ourselves but we won’t put them down. No one else wants to carry that load for us nor should they – this is not a burden to be shared, it’s one to be ditched. Jettisoned.
Feeling tired? Maybe there’s a reason.
Posted on October 25, 2012, in Self-awareness and tagged compromise, conflict resolution, determination, friendship, Hiking, Recreation, sharing burdens, Trail, Waikaremoana. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.