Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Need vs. Want via a Toothbrush. One of the biggest things I learned after 4 months and five days on the Appalachian trail was the lesson of Need vs. Want. I didn't realize this fully until the end of the trail when my parents met me and gave me new toiletries. The first time I was brushing my teeth after I completed the trail, I was in the back of a 5th wheel camper. I started excitedly yelling towards my parents about my toothbrush! What I quickly found out was that I was making a big deal about the full-sized toothbrush because I didn't have to get my hand messy while brushing my teeth. The one I used on the trail was cut in half so it could fit better in a ziplock bag. I had never in my life been appreciative of a full sized toothbrush until that moment. I realized then how I thought so many things in my life were needs. I needed ESPN, Air Conditioning, and much more. The trail taught me that I don't need a whole lot. I want a lot of things, but I don't need them. I don't even need a full sized toothbrush.
It's good to know good people. I have been blessed to grow up surrounded by good people. The trail was this amazing view into people who cared about us and the relationships that linked those friends to ours. You never know what connections you will have with others. Therefore be a great friend to all and surround yourself with good people. You never know when they will send cookies, prayers, or meet you along your journey.
Think Further. This one I could write a book on. Often at the beginning of the trail I would calculate my hiking speed and distance remaining. I would make up in my mind that I should arrive at a location at a specific time based on the data that I had come up with. Being a competitive person I always tried to beat the time to the location. If I was supposed to be at a shelter in five minutes I would start that very minute hoping it was around the next corner. By the time five minutes had come, I was so frustrated. Where could this shelter be? Even if it came in the next minute my attitude and mentality would be a train-wreck. I hated this about myself. Then I developed a simple brain trick that made all the difference. I would tell myself that if I had five minutes before a shelter I would give myself 10 minutes before I began to get worked up. Most of the time I arrived and was in a completely different mood. This is not just a concept about time and the trail. If I think something will be easy and or completed by a certain time, I double it in my mind. This helps me from getting unnecessarily worked up and typically I achieve better results with greater satisfaction when I think further.