• Mary Anderson

A Reminder to Hike Your Own Hike




I am continuously struggling not to compare myself to others out here. Most everyone I meet can outhike me. Sometimes I attribute it to the fact that I am usually more than double their age. But I know there are people my age who are in better shape. If I compare myself to others I always fall short.


I realize this was my experience growing up with four older brothers. I could never match their knowledge or physical strength, especially when I was almost ten years younger than three of them. I was never good enough. I could never best them at anything. Plus they made it clear that I was inferior. After all, they were boys and I was only a girl.


I've worked hard to get past a lot of those old feelings, and I am surprised to see them rise up yet again. I can be contentedly hiking along when I get passed by yet another group of sobo hikers. Even if they tell me I am "killing it" or I am like the tortoise who will make it at the end, I sometimes have to wrestle with the demons of not being good enough.


I learned a long time ago that one of the worst things about comparing myself to others and coming up short is that it leaves me prone to want to find someone I am "better" than. For example, I could fall into the pit of thinking I am somehow superior to the person doing short days out for just a weekend, or to the women doing the trail on horseback. Luckily, I let go of this kind of comparison years ago. Now I am working on letting go of the vestiges of getting down on myself for being so much slower than everyone else, for falling short and not being good enough.


I have always thought I was more like a Clydesdale than a race horse. I plod on and have pretty good stamina. But these days even my stamina is lessening. After days of struggling not to negatively compare myself to other hikers, I found a way to laugh about it. Turning to song, I found myself singing over and over "The old grey mare she ain't what she used to be..." Ironically, when I told the younger hikers about this, they of course had never even heard of that old song!

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