I paused and asked—maybe even out loud, though there was no one else to hear—“Why is this so hard?”
“Because of the weight you’re carrying.”
This was day two of a three day backpacking trip and I was mid-trudge back uphill after an unexpected washout made for a much tougher climb that I had expected.
I had spent the last several miles cursing the pain of each step on sorely beaten feet, and doing the math on how many miles in we were. Morale was low. Specifically, I was comparing this trip’s mileage to another very recent 21 mile day, wondering why, with fewer steps and comparable elevation this felt so damn hard. What I wasn’t factoring in was that on this four-letter-word-laden day, I was carrying a bag that weighed probably 40 pounds, but comparing my efforts to a time I had worn only a light hydration pack.
That moment on the trail was challenging because of literal weight, but as with most real “aha” moments, the lesson isn’t limited to weight carried in physical backpacks. It’s the weight of expectations, of “should”s, of refusing to let go of the past, of all the things we pick up and hold too tightly.
I’m learning this lesson over and over: it is okay to set some things down.
And when you can’t? When you truly cannot set down the heavy things?
Recognizing that they’re heavy and you’re asking a lot of yourself might just be enough to move you forward. Loosening your grip might ease the burden. On the mountain, the simple realization that I wasn’t crazy, or suddenly less capable than I had been a week before—that was enough. That alone made things feel lighter. The task ahead was still hard, but I wasn’t fighting myself, questioning myself, kicking myself while I was down. This was just heavy. Acknowledging that I was carrying a lot, thereby speaking to myself more kindly, made the miles still ahead a little less daunting.
On days when you’re asking why this is so hard, hear this: because of the weight you are carrying. There is nothing wrong with you. You are strong and capable and made to overcome. Recognize the weight.
Loosen your grip.
It’s COZY SEASON, y’all. Let’s lean in, shall we? Highly recommend Target candles that burn forever for the mighty fine price of $9.99. Current Faves: Bourbon Pumpkin and Pumpkin Spice (shocking, I know.) Always Faves: Serenity and Relax & Restore.
Tik Tok Therapists
This sounds like a joke-thing, but it is a real thing and it is wonderful. @domesticblisters is my favorite, focusing on the “moral neutrality” of care tasks. She’s also quite funny. Enjoy!