In this picture we are happy, proud, maybe only slightly trepidatious, our sights set on pushing limits and bonding over the challenges of a 9.5 mile hike. We quickly squeeze in tight so the picture taking stranger who was asked to relinquish his spot in the bathroom line can get back to the business of waiting. It’s Memorial Day 2016, and we smile genuinely, because, frankly…we just don’t know yet.
When we organized this adventure with the fitness coaches from our gyms, we certainly knew the amphibious trek in nearly 90 degree temperatures would be rough. But as gym people we felt ready for a solid fitness challenge. So, here we are, ready to bust some personal limits, make some memories, and commune with nature.
And memories we did make, though not all of them were of the variety for which we bargained. How might this picture be different had we known the worst of the seven-hour journey, and the hours to follow? But we were clueless. We had no idea that after dodging poison ivy, repellant-resistant sand flies and a copperhead snake (none of which surprised us); after depleting our energy reserves on treacherous horizontal climbs; and after taxing ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally that ticks, vomiting, heat exhaustion, severe dehydration, kidney failure, and a trip to the emergency room would be some of the most memorable takeaways from the day.
Busting limits is always something that seems more glamorous from a distance than it does up close…in the thick of things. “The thick” is where we question our original resolve. The thick is where mothers-to-be scream desperately at their mates, “YOU did this to me!” It’s where the lowly caterpillar comes grotesquely undone in dark solitude before his next life as a glorious monarch. The thick is the ugly, sometimes relentlessly abusive avenue between comfort and growth. It’s where the old breaks away to give birth to something new. Lest we forget, the thick is where life takes meaning.
Many peek through the window at growth and decide the process isn’t worth it…because of the thick. And sometimes it isn’t worth it. But there isn’t anyone who can’t benefit from the ability to embrace the ugly thick of things when it comes to personal growth of some kind, to lift one’s chin, recall the WHY, and to press commitedly forward. We came to grow, after all. And growth is often uncomfortable.
Days after our little adventure, bragging rights, laughs, and shared memories are already emerging from the ugly emotional rubble of the day. It may have been close, but none of us died. We could do it again, only better, and though we may not opt to, it feels good to know we could.
And that’s the thing about being willing to walk through the thick of things. In retrospect it always looks different. Great rewards, increased confidence, personal strength, lessons that make us wiser, or stories that make the landscape of our respective human stories so much more interesting are usually waiting on the other side. But you don’t get to see it all until you are willing to start walking and keep walking…into the thick of it all…and out through the other side.
Can you recall a time in your own life when you emerged from the thick of a grueling process to experience a reward so valuable it was hard to describe? What personal growth path would help you bust through the most restrictive limitations in your own life now? What challenges stand between you and what you want? Are you willing to lift your eyes to the prize and press forward knowing that there may be even more unforeseeable obstacles in the thick of things? Let us know in COMMENTS.
We WILL be back to that trail, though our next trip will likely be a shorter, more benign journey with the kids, set to the SKOOL lesson of “The Thick.”
👍❤️ If you’re grateful for the gnarly growth-inducing parts of your own life’s journey, please give us some “LOVE” (❤️), SHARE, and for more actionable insights in optimal living for kids and their “big people” please FOLLOW us @ChiefExecutiveMomma 😊🙏❤️