Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Thing About Excuses and Mowing The Lawn

The thing about excuses is they are so easy to make. You don't even have to know you are making them. I make them all the time, whether for good reason or just laziness. Too cold, too hot, too rainy, windy, boring, stupid, don't feel well, feel too good, this hurts, that hurts, everything hurts, nothing hurts, I'm hungry, someone else is hungry, not enough time, not enough sleep, too much stress, too many excuses... the list goes on and on. I'm sure I've already made two or three excuses today and it is only 11:45 AM.

So how do we stop making excuses? I have no idea. But I'm sure it starts with being mindful of the fact that you are making an excuse, and stop it. Whatever your excuse, just throw it away and do whatever it is you need to do. Easier said, not so easily done. There's another excuse.

I'm going to play a new game with myself, it is called find the excuses and extinguish them. I really just want to get things done. I'm not going to say I wont make any more excuses, because of course I will, but I will try my best not to. And when I do I will notice it and politely move it out of my way and do what needs to get done. February starts my focused training for Tri season, a good a time as ever to stop bitching and start working my butt off.

I wonder if quitting the excuse making will be like quitting smoking? Is it like an addiction? Well I quit smoking, so I'm not afraid to quit whining. I like this challenge.

The Adventurer is going to like my new challenge. For her it means I wont continuously give her excuses as to why I can't go backpacking with her even though I am dying to get back out in the mountains. Now I will just do it. And in trade she will hike the PCT with me in three years? Right?
For those of you unfamiliar with the PCT it is a longer less social version of the Appalachian Trail. If you are still confused and asking yourself "well okay, but what the heck is the Appalachian Trail and why do I care if it is like the PCT?" then click here.

Speaking of the PCT, I just finished reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed.

I only added a picture of it because this post is severely lacking pictures, and I like pictures. Pictures makes it easier and more enjoyable for people with a short attention span like myself to read this post. 

I have to say, I loved this book. I wasn't sure I would it being a recommendation from the Oprah Book Club book. I was afraid that it would be sappy and romantic and everything I picture when I think of Oprah. I pictured Oprah making hiking the PCT a trendy thing to do while giving out water purifiers to her audience. 

"And you get a water purifier! And you get a water purifier!"

But it wasn't like that at all. It was honest and strange and most of all it was life. Her hike wasn't the main focus, which was just fine, even though I would have loved it if it had been entirely about her hike. It was about her life and the reasons that she was out there in the wilderness. Some people question if she exaggerated the parts about her hike since she wrote it some 17 years after, but a lot of it sounded familiar to me and so very real. When you hike a long distance trail like the AT or the PCT the main question everyone wants to know is why you are out there. And most of us can't give up a good reason, or are afraid to blurt out honest reasons to the people who ask these questions. Cheryl gives it up in a way I wish the rest of us could. It is a beautiful and fun adventure of a book, I recommend it to everyone and anyone. 

The reason I always gave when asked why I was walking from Georgia to Maine was a simple one. When I was young my father would never let me mow the lawn. His reason? He simply told me I would start it and not finish it. He assumed I would get bored of the lawn mowing process, and maybe I would have. After all there are times when I have the attention span of a Goldfish, but I loved watching people mow lawns. To me it was art. I love how a lawn looks so absolutely complete when you are done. In my heart I knew I would finish if he let me start, but I was too young to argue. So my Thru-hike was to prove to myself, and to everyone else that I could finish what I started. If I started to mow the lawn I would finish. If I started walking 2100 some odd miles to Maine, I would get there. End of story. And that's what I did. 

He still hasn't let me mow the lawn, simply because now he pays someone to do it. But nobody was more proud of my Thru-hike than him, so I know he gets that I'd be damn good at mowing lawns. I'm sure he wouldn't hesitate if I asked to do it now. What is the lesson here? Sometimes you have to go to great lengths to get your point across... take the challenge. 

Me and my Dad in Front Royal, VA on one of my parents many visits to us on our Thru-Hike.
You can see from this picture why I was given the trail name "Kurly"... I have some serious locks. We look like bad asses in this picture too, I love it. Love my Dad. 

On a side note if any of you ever need anything fixed this guy can do it... whether he knows what it is or not, he'll figure it out. You'll get no excuses from him and he'll finish what he starts. 

But if you need your lawn mowed come to me, I'll do it and it will look damn good when I finish. 

This was not an advertisement for me or my dad, I'm not going to mow your lawn and he isn't going to fix your stuff. So don't ask. I'm just letting you know we could, if we wanted to. 

Have an awesome day.


  1. I have essentially eliminated excuses for running and working out, but I am terrible about making excuses with food! Ugh!

    1. Me too. Food and beer I always make an excuse for beer!