• Mary Anderson

On Banishing Regrets

Hiking helps me put my “mistakes” and decisions into perspective. I used to sometimes stop somewhere for the night only to regret the next day that I hadn’t walked just a mile further to a more lovely camp spot. I agonized over which route to take, not wanting to miss the “better” of my choices. I have learned that if I stay in the moment, none of this matters. I enjoy where I am and make decisions based on what is happening around me. Then I let the rest go. If I see a prettier place a mile downtrail in the morning, I enjoy it for its beauty without rueing the night spent elsewhere.

In the end, there are so many ways I could be seriously injured or lost out here that each river I safely cross, every blowdown I get past without piercing myself or twisting an ankle, every scree slope I descend without falling and breaking a bone—these are all that matter. If I misjudge a rock and get my boot wet, it doesn’t really matter as long as I cross the river safely.

If I were to spend my time beating myself up over things I might have done differently, I would miss seeing the new stuff I am walking past. And with only my thoughts for company and distraction, beating myself up would make for an unpleasant companion.

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