For me, sometimes the choice to hike is about working toward a goal. At other times, it’s a way for me to focus on and enjoy the present.
As someone who could be described as a planner, I have a tendency to look forward to the next thing (like moving to Oregon!) at the expense of slowing down and appreciating what is currently happening in my life. However, one lesson that I have certainly learned during this past year is that the things I anticipate in the future do not always come to pass. By living in the future, I rob myself of the opportunity to fully experience the current moment. Although perhaps it was understandable that I spent the last few years anticipating being finished with graduate school.
I do not want to spend my life never living it. Hiking and being outdoors are ways I can focus and find more meaning and satisfaction in the present.
That is how I, yet again, found myself at a place I have frequently hiked. Erwin Park in McKinney has an almost 9-mile mountain biking trail that can also be used for hiking. I enjoyed the park on a beautiful Saturday in February (which was approximately 26.45 hours before it was literally freezing again). It is recommended that hikers walk the trail counterclockwise in order to face oncoming bikers. Which is a really good idea given the number of mountain bikers on the trail most weekends. The park has a combination of wooded areas and open fields, providing a decent variety of scenery.
Erwin Park also offers campsites, a playground, and picnic facilities.
Although a 9-ish mile hike at a local park may not be life-changing, it was the perfect way for me to slow down in order to appreciate the gift of a beautiful day and to feel gratitude for what is happening in my life right now.
What are some ways you focus on the present or enjoy the moment?