Late 2011, I was less than one week away from ending my own life……It took a couple of perceptive people to realize something had changed in me and they had the courage to approach me. They ensured I got the help that I needed and I am here today because they chose to act. It has been a challenging process to climb my way out of the levels of depression I sank to. I still climb and press forward on a daily basis, but now I know I am not alone.
Looking back, I can now see that I ended my own life many years prior. I chose nothingness over life. I was satisfied with just eating whatever tasted good, playing videogames, watching TV, and sleeping. The acceptance of that life being “happy” or “normal” took me down the path of obesity, misery, depression, and nearly into the grave way too soon. That life, and I use the word loosely, was MY “couch”. The place I resided instead of actively being on the path of life finding true happiness through experiences…I will call it the “Trail”.
Over the last couple of years of counselling, I faced difficult realities of my past, as well as my present, and realized I had to make the decision on my own to live a life with purpose. It was my obligation to find my passions and go after things to fully experience life. I could have played it safe and picked an easy task, or activity, but I decided to dream big. I decided I will hike the Appalachian Trail……and then I looked up what the Appalachian Trail “is”…..and I nearly said, “F&#% that!”
Here is a short summary of the Appalachian Trail from http://www.appalachiantrail.org/about-the-trail The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpath in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. The Trail goes through fourteen states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the Trail’s northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine.
Instead, I said, “F&#% it, why not?” Sounds like a blast for a guy who once weighed in at 375 pounds doesn’t it?……a genuine hell on Earth of a good time.
What I didn’t realize at the time of choosing the goal is how fitting it is to summarize our lives. Life is a long journey. Life has many ups and downs. Sometimes pointless ups and downs “PUDS” are added. (Inside joke to hikers……especially AT hikers) Sure, we can get off the trail any time we want. (I nearly did in 2011) We might get taken off the trail by external things like bears, injuries, or poor preparation. (In real life it could be car accidents, murder, etc.) But staying until the end allows you to live the whole journey. This is what drives me to hike the AT in 2016. This is why I have started getting in shape physically, mentally, and financially. I must live and I must finish at my appointed time. I need the tangible experience to remind me to stay on the trail whenever life starts to suck.
I decided to chronicle my journey in a vlog/blog format because I want to try to encourage others to get off their “couch”. Not necessarily a literal couch, but that place of redundant mediocrity you are now stuck in. I want you all to find your “trail”. I don’t care if it is taking up knitting, poetry, MMA fighting, running 5k events, or deciding to wave and smile at strangers……..whatever your “trail” is, go for it! I want to document my process so you can see that my words are not empty. You will see me as I am from today on. You will see me struggle through ups and downs and still press on to complete my “trail”. Putting myself on camera is a huge struggle right off the bat. It is my honor to share this journey with you and I hope you too will be inspired to go from “couch to trail”.
More to my story…
Any media who would like to discuss my journey, please use the above address or contact me on the Facebook page or email www.facebook.com/couch2trail