Five years ago today, I was laying in the dirt on a trail with a shattered and dislocated ankle with pieces of bone pressing against my skin so hard I developed fracture blisters that left scars that still remind me everyday of my accident. I literally felt like I could die from the pain before the fire department (aka amazing hero angels) would have time to get to me. I was supposed to be celebrating my birthday, not waiting to be rescued from one of my favorite trails. As I laid there, mostly in shock, and in indescribable pain, I couldn’t have imagined one day I would be grateful for my injury. I could have never guessed how much my life would change for the better, and how that traumatic injury would open a new path to becoming a happier and healthier me.
You see, before my accident, I was kind of a mess. I didn’t know how to say no to anyone, I was a hopeless perfectionist, an obsessive over achiever, a workaholic, and a chronic people pleaser. I never put myself first, and took care of everyone else before my needs were met. I lived mostly in the past, chained to past failures and hurts I didn’t know how to let go of, and my stress and anxiety were so out of control I began to manifest OCD symptoms, and panic attacks were fairly common. I was unhappy and really good at avoiding my emotions by staying busy and never stopping (physically, mentally, or spiritually) to feel them, let alone deal with them. It wasn’t the true me and it wasn’t healthy.
It’s amazing now looking back at my injury, and the difficult recovery, and being able to see what a special time that was for me. I’ve found my recovery, as hard as it was physically and even more so emotionally, was where the true healing was. I literally was forced to be quiet with myself for months. After two surgeries and two months in a wheelchair I couldn’t run out and help someone else when my emotions came up. I sat on my couch in pain, physically and emotionally, and was forced to feel what I had pushed down for so long. I cried- I cried so much, years worth of tears I never allowed to flow. I wrote in my blog and I started to feel myself healing. I started to feel like me again. I also understood how healing and important hiking was for me and knew it was something I really wanted to be able to do again and would not take for granted. I had a deep awakening and my perception really changed. I realized I had been living a life I didn’t want anymore and that I could change it as I create my own reality. The magic was already inside of me to do so, and all I had to do was turn it on.
I truly believe that everything in life (whether you perceive it as “good” or “bad”) happens for you and not to you. It took a severe injury and months of recovery and then five years of walking a new path to really understand the beauty in that. I’m still healing in so many ways, as we all are, and am grateful I am able to get in nature and hike as much as I can. Hiking is the one thing that puts my perspective back in a healthy place when I start to feel the old people pleasing, perfectionist, anxious, stressed out me show up. It truly is magical and now I get to share that magic with so many people through Hike It Off and even more with the launch of the magazine. This is my purpose. This is who I really am and I am so thankful for this journey, even the really tough and painful parts. So happy birthday to me and thank you for following me on this incredible journey we call life.