Appenzell, Switzerland -
This one actually picks up where Reminders from a mountain #8 ends (if you haven't read that yet, go give it a read) - getting to the absolutely amazing and breathtakingly beautiful Saxer Lücke. Because I didn't realize that it was a full loop hike (I was just following sign posts at this point), I turned around and headed back the gondola at the top of the mountain. Almost everyone else was continuing the hike to end where we started, which was mostly downhill.
I took this about halfway so I could see where I started - the circled, pointy looking thing.
I had even stopped and talked with a few people who I had passed on the way down, who all were telling me that it was crazy to go all the way back up, since it was quite steep to get down. But because I had left my luggage at the gondola station and needed to be there before it closed - I was on a mission.
Now, while I have done many 10+ mile hikes in my day, I have gotten far better at remembering to bring enough water so I don't run out. However... I had been in a rush (always a bad place to start) and had gotten very little sleep before I left for the day, which contributed to me forgetting to fill up my water bottles, so I had a very limited amount of water. Well when you're 5 miles in and have already knocked out a couple thousand feet of elevation gain, you can see why having very limited water would be an issue.
Also one thing to know about me, I drink a ton of water all the time in my normal day to day, so when I am dehydrated, I am exhausted, I can't eat food and I get juuuust a little grumpy.
But I knew (or so I thought) I had passed a restaurant a couple miles back that I would be able to refill my water bottles at. So I bound up to this restaurant (pictures below) in high spirits, ready to refill my water bottles and keep on chugging. Alas, when I get there, there was a "you cannot drink the tap water" sign up near the tap... my least favorite sign to see.
Because (and non-Americans, don't judge me here), I do have a slight issue paying exorbitant amounts of money for water and because the mineral water they sell at the top of mountains actually doesn't taste as good as the tap water, I begrudgingly went to the front to buy water. And as per usual they only sold very small bottles of water, which in this case was a glass, very fancy bottle. But I only bought 1 because I didn't want the glass to hit against one another and break in my backpack.
Poor life decision.
On the way up the very steep 4 miles back, I was starting to get quite parched and the fog was starting to roll in and because I can't eat when I'm dehydrated, the last fuel of my breakfast was fading. I started to get JUST A LITTLE grumpy and frustrated because I started to not be able to see more than a couple feet in front of me. Which meant that couldn't see where I was trying to get to and felt like I may have taken a wrong turn.
My body was also shutting down a bit because I hadn't eaten for about half a day and was obviously dehydrated. So in the last half a mile which was crazy steep, I ended up taking so many breaks, just trying to find where the top was and having no idea because I couldn't see a darn thing.
And this was just when the fog started rolling in, I didn't both taking pictures when I couldn't see anything when it was bad.
And the worst part was I had absolutely nothing for the people around me when I finally reached the top. Usually I find at least a couple people to chat with and learn about and talk to the workers there - but in my exhaustion, I had nothing to give. My thoughts were solely on me and downing the 1.5 liters of water I just just bought.
I'm not going to lie, I was pretty disappointed in myself.
Because every morning I wake up and ask the Lord to show me who I can be a light to. Who just needs a smile or a laugh today. Who needs to know that they are cared for and valued as a person? Then I get the most incredible opportunities to talk to so many different people and I know that they were put in my path for a reason.
But, in those last few miles, when my selfishness was at an all time high, my only thoughts were on myself. No one else.
And unfortunately, this is what happens to people (myself included, obviously) so often when we don't take care of ourselves mentally and physically. We see it as a selfish act to do the things we need to do to ensure that we are at our best. But we do those thing, so we can be at our best. It's a crazy, destructive loop we have going on in our head.
Now think about work and life: There are so many people out there (myself too at times) where we are so busy looking after others, or working our tails off to try to prove our worth - that we have nothing left to give.
All our resources are depleted and we are drowning, yet still trying to shove others up out of the water.
We need to focus and fulfill our needs first before trying to be everything to everyone. For some that means getting up early to read, journal, pray or work out. For some, it may be that they need an extra hour of sleep or 30 minutes of quiet time!
For me this looks like dragging myself out of bed every morning to workout, read, journal, and get a good breakfast before I start my day.
Think through and figure out what that looks like for you, but know this - self care is not selfish. It is necessary to allow your cup to be filled so you can actually meet others needs, instead of always operating from empty.