How Hiking Mountains has Made Work More Tolerable


Ripley Elizabeth
I don’t have a great job – lets just put that out there. It’s not a horrible job, there’s a lot of worse things I could be doing, but it’s the kind of job you find yourself in when you haven’t really been paying attention to where you want to go in life. Suddenly you realize you’ve been working in this place for five years, none of your skills are transferable, and if you go anywhere else you’ll have to take a serious pay cut. You resign yourself to working here for the rest of your life and slowly sink into apathy.

At least, that’s what happens when I don’t take the time outside of work to focus on the things I’m passionate about. It’s hard! No matter what you do for a living, chances are you do it for at least forty hours a week, some of us more like fifty or sixty. When you get home at the end of the day you’re tired, worn out, mentally and physically exhausted. On your days off you have to run errands and take care of things that you were too tired to do after your work days, and so your free time is usually filled with things that you think are going to make you feel rested and recharged, like tv and video games or laying on your bed creeping through Facebook.

It is vitally, vitally important to do something with our time besides work. When work is all you do, it’s who you start to think you are: just a slave to your job. It’s the first thing we talk about when we meet someone new, its how we identify and classify ourselves. Chances are, whatever it is that you do to pay your bills is not the thing that gives you great joy and makes you feel fulfilled in life. People who have those kinds of jobs are the lucky minority.

But when you take time to pursue your passions, work becomes the thing you do in order to accomplish your goals and be the person you want to be. It becomes only a small aspect of you, instead of your entire being. “Sure, this is what I do to make money and live comfortably, but THESE are the things that I feel best emulate who I am and what I am most excited about.”

When I don’t take time to hike, or to pursue my other favorite things, work becomes more and more unbearable. I find myself complaining, sifting through career websites, dreading each new day that I head in to my indentured servitude. Once I start hiking again, all those feelings drift away and I’m able to look at my job for what it is: a reliable source of income where I’m treated with respect and things aren’t really all that bad.

Long story short- don’t come home at the end of the day and waste your time doing meaningless things. It will take practice and willpower, but force yourself to do the things you love as often as you have time to do them. You might think you’re too tired, but the truth is, your passions will make you feel ten times more renewed, refreshed, and filled with joy than watching the tv will.


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