The wind bellows and whips the frosted snow into my face, a child with a tantrum, burrowing deep into my cheeks and releasing tidal waves of free flowing frosty tears from my eyes. My rubber Sorrell hiking boots–my truly faithful steed in my Austrian adventures purchased for $16 in the local Kansas second-hand shop–slip on the ice encrusted rocks, and the black €1 gloves do nothing to dam the waves of cold that dive into my fingers as they plunge into the banks of thick snow to stop my fall.
The Austrian hikers that I come upon are all pleasantly whistling tunes and cheerily hollaring “Gruß Gott!” against the blowing wind as they dance by me with their professional hiking poles and boots made for the icy conditions of the Schöckl mountain.
Despite the quite obvious amount of discomfort I should be experiencing–as I am quite wholly unprepared for winter hiking and should probably be massively discouraged from embarking on such excursions–I find myself whistling an equally merry tune and bellowing “Servus!” in return whilst I scrub my fingers forcibly together in attempts to defrost them from their current state of abhorrent uselessness.
My own positivity surprised me.
This I say not to my own accreditation, or to glorify myself in any way. It simply astounded me that I was actually having such a grand adventure, when so many obvious less-than-grand things were wracking their way through my body.
My parents had departed from Europe on Tuesday, and come Thursday I was already feeling that itch of escape from the confinements of daily routine in Graz, despite having spent the last fortnight skirting from Vienna to Poland to Berlin and back.
Thursday came; so did regional bus number 250.
€6,40 and my heaviest coat later, I found myself bumbling up the Austrian frozen countryside, bound for the 1,445 meters of vertical earth that is the Schöckl mountain.
Whilst sauntering my way up this dome of blisteringly freezing majesty, I reflected upon my positivity.
Why was I enjoying myself? Why was I doing this to myself? Why was I here, carting only a half filled water bottle for the entire day of hiking, and not tucked away safely in my slippers back in the warmth of my flat, doing something actually productive like writing essays and eating peanut butter?
It is with desperate hope that you do not cast me away as arrogant. I’m not better at suffering. I have so much more to learn about discipline, and delayed gratification and minimalism and simplicity.
But I did genuinely find myself in a state of enjoyment. And this state vastly outbalanced any glimpes of suffering.
While my eyes lost themselves in the beautiful contrast of the hearty brown pines against the oblivion that is the snowy mountain ground, my mind wheeled.
I do this, I do these things, I do what I do because I envision how I am going to feel about myself after I do them.
Yeah, for sure. You can stop running now. But how are you going to feeling after you’ve gone just one more mile? How are you going to feel after doing one more hill repeat?
Yeah, for sure. You can eat whatever you want. But how are you going to feel after you choose to eat mindfully and plant based? How are you going to feel after opting for carrots and bananas and peanut butter over simple carbs and sugars?
Not just physically. I’m not just talking about how I am physically going to feel after saying either yes to more suffering or no to delicious delicacies.
I’m talking about respect.
How am I going to feel about myself?
Today has been spent alternating between creating presentations to finish out the last month of the winter semester and establishing my role in where I want my 2017 to take me. So this idea has been festering in my mind for the past 11 hours.
There’s something fundamentally different between being motivated and being driven.
Being motivated looks like waking up when the devil blares bloody murder from the alarm clock, strapping on your running shoes and shimmying into your winter gear. Being motivated looks like getting to the door, cranking open the handle, feeling the sharp and cutting wind jackknife itself across your face, and immediately sauntering back to the covers, nestling back into the folds of warmth and comfort.
Being driven looks like opening that door and embracing the hurt and the pain and the instinct to run as far away from both of those feelings as possible, because you know that you are going to bloody respect yourself after you get out that door.
So my resolutions for 2017? To cast aside an attraction to settle for motivation in favor of deepening my drive.
Peace and Blessings,