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Rule #50. It’s all part of the game.
On the third day of the Great River Trail Trash Trek, as I hiked alongside highway 84, I grew more and more downtrodden. I hadn’t really slept the night before, I was carrying much more weight than I should have been, and the hot sun started to wear on me. Shortly after filling my fourth garbage bag, I finally came upon some shade and I sat down. My energy just seemed to be draining out of me. Feeling weak and frustrated, I decided to call in an assist from my friend Mike, who had offered to come pick up full bags if I needed it. And boy, did I feel like I needed it.
I couldn’t have felt more relieved when Mike pulled up in his truck. I didn’t notice right away, but he was moving slowly and stiff-legged. He proceeded to tell me that he had strained a ligament in his hip, and I didn’t need him to tell me it was painful; I could see it.
I felt extremely grateful in that moment. Despite his pain and injury, my friend had driven up to help me out on my adventure (thanks again, Mike). I also felt concern. His injury occurred just one month before Wausau24, a 24-hour mountain bike race in which he planned to compete. I had no idea whether this injury would keep him from training, let alone competing.
I told Mike that I was sorry that he got injured. He looked at me and replied, “I’m not. It’s all part of the game.”
We sat on the folded-down tailgate and talked about how we can’t expect to come out of all our exploits unscathed. Things don’t always go according to plan. We’re going to suffer setbacks, but that’s part of leading an adventurous life; it can’t all be victory and glory. Sometimes leading the adventurous life will mean getting injured, running out of money, and running into all kinds of obstacles. If everything was easy, it wouldn’t be an adventure. The pain, injuries, setbacks, and exhaustion are what make the victory worthwhile; it’s all part of the game.
So when you hit one of those setbacks, it isn’t a sign that you should stop. You should recover, refocus, and come back stronger than before. Life can’t be all highs; there’s always going to be some lows in there too, but don’t let the lows defeat you. They’re part of the game, and you can’t win unless you keep playing.
For the record, after my pep-talk, I felt re-energized and went on to pick up a total of 43 bags of trash along over 60 miles. Mike refocused his efforts, did tons of mobility work, and has recovered. I’m confident he’s going to do stellar at Wasau, which he will be riding at the end of the month. And you, whatever obstacle you’re facing, you’re going to overcome it if you keep trying.
Because it’s all part of the game.
“Rules for Intrepid Living” is an ongoing weekly article that gives potential guidelines for how we can all live a more adventurous life.