I’ve signed rental agreements, bought a new car, racked up debt, and become another sheep—a number in the system, a cog in the machine—all things I learned I didn’t want after the AT. More recently I have identified another blanket, that being the belief that some of my goals are too big or unattainable. Self doubt. I know that if I believe that they will remain unattainable.
It’s very hard to not be distracted by all that life has to throw at us. After I finished the AT there wasn’t social media. In today’s world we are constantly bombarded both online and off. It is so much harder now to keep those distractions from becoming another blanket.
There’s also the integration of technology in sports now, not just in our everyday life. One of my biggest dilemmas at the moment is figuring out what technology I want to bring on the CDT. The list is long believe it or not. Phone, iPod, camera, GPS, Spot tracker, battery pack or solar panel? I only carried a camera on the AT. Is the rest necessary? Who am I carrying all that for, myself or others? Is the Spot Tracker for safety reasons or to show others how bad ass I am? Do I need to have my journal posted and up to date as soon as possible?
Social media is supposed to be for networking with others but it’s hard not to think it’s being used to one up everyone else. I know I’m guilty of it. It’s a blanket that didn’t exist with my other hikes. Do I want my CDT hike to be for me or others? I keep a journal on my adventures because I want to share my experience with friends and family. I just think there’s a point where we all get into a grey area.
In my opinion social media has done so well because it targets the basic human need for acceptance. We post things hoping to get likes, or in reality, acceptance from others. As you can see, blankets come in many forms, some are physical, others are ideas or systems. Sorry I digress.
As you pull each one of these blankets over yourself the pressure drags you down. At first you don’t notice it but one day you will and most likely you won’t like what it feels like. Personally I find this the hardest part. Those pressures can really dampen my mood and outlook if I don’t keep myself in check. The truth is the the hardest part is recognizing the blankets. If you can do this, you can avoid pulling them over yourself, but I speak from experience, it’s not as easy as you would think.