After a steep climb up the little used and leaf-covered trail, I emerged at the top of the Seven Sisters ridge with views of the Asheville watershed to my left and Montreat Cove to my right. The sunlight striking the face of the mountains and the work that had been required to reach this point had taken away the fall morning’s chill. The trail northward across the tops of the mountains stretched out before me as the confused thoughts about the future that too often furrow my brow and fill my mind with worry receded. The way forward was clear.
Worry is a way of life for me. I often find myself caught up in a spontaneous vision of what I want my life to be, only to have my worries shackle me and keep me tied down to the constraints of making safe decisions about how to live. Too often I look at the possible forks in the road and pick the one least likely to cause me any pain and discomfort, the one where the end is more or less known to me, even though the choice not taken might have opened up new worlds of discovery and possibility. On this morning, I chose to run on trails I had never been on before and was once again reminded that the best choice is often the one into the unknown.
The path before me was strewn with rocks, slippery leaves, and steep inclines. There were sections that required the use of four limbs to overcome. But the way forward also included smooth sections of runnable trail, vistas of the great expanse of mountains and sky surrounding me, and the peace and rhythm of silence and forward motion. I moved over it with exuberance.
There was a moment as I moved over the trail that it became clear to me that this was the way I want to live every moment. I want to see new places and embrace new opportunities. The way forward is to live an adventure. Like the trail I was running on, this path is not easy. It has its fair share of obstacles to overcome including uncertainty and large doses of fear and doubt. But to not take this route would be far worse. To continue to wonder what might have been is not the way I want to spend my days.
My worries remain with me. They are a part of me that I must learn to make friends with. I must listen to what they have to tell me, politely nod and smile, and promptly ignore most of their advice.