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  1. #1
    Registered User Pickleodeon's Avatar
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    Default Feeling different after the hike, opposite

    In response to SBhikes' post, I've been thinking about how the trail has changed me as well. However, I feel the opposite.

    When I was prepping for the trail, I was working a lot, and reading and researching about the trail. I had a steady income and a really huge goal. It was great, I was going to a gym to "train" and then I left in March. Hiked the trail, flash forward, and I thought and talked to my hiking partners about my future plans for post-trail life.

    Now that I'm home, I'm in that mid-twenties life stage where all of my friends are getting married and buying houses. An exicting time, but here I am, not-so-subtly hinting at my boyfriend about these things because he's the only aspect of my life where I feel comfortable and happy. So we talk about the future and finances and a house eventually and a wedding, eventually. So, long story short, we talk about Money, money, money. On top of that, I have none, and I owe my parents money from a few trail expenses while I was gone. Plus, I'm living with my parents, ugh, after the freedom of college and then the trail, and can't afford to live on my own.

    Also, I'm working, sort of, as a substitute teacher. It's an ok job, when they call me to do it. Last week, 0/5 days, it's not like I need a paycheck or anything!!! So, after living the great life on the trail, now I'm back in the "real world" and have a million more headaches and things to worry about than before I left.

    I've been sitting around during the day, feeling horribly depressed and unmotivated. The days are getting shorter and colder so I cant be outside as much. My body is still somewhat hurting from the trail which keeps me from wanting to go out and be active. I feel like a big failure after this huge life accomplishment. I can't motivate myself to do anything now and I don't know what I want to do with my life.

  2. #2
    Nicksaari's Avatar
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    getting ready to get off trail ALWAYS depresses me, but then again, im extremely Bipolar. this is what i call the vacation depression: a mood affecting low caused by realization of going back to the real world grind.

    does this affect anyone else, or am i just all alone on this?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleodeon View Post
    ...My body is still somewhat hurting from the trail which keeps me from wanting to go out and be active. I feel like a big failure after this huge life accomplishment. I can't motivate myself to do anything now and I don't know what I want to do with my life.
    The body is like a kid that needs to be disciplined. Don't put off being active because of a little pain, you can allow the pain to moderate intensity, but never just sit around and wait for it to go away.

    99% of the time I can't means I won't.

    As far as life's goal/ambitions, just don't give up it'll come to you. I'm having a little problem in that area also, so probably not in a position to advise.

  4. #4
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    You are going thru hiker depression , it happens to all of us. keep busy as possible and if you do not work try to get out and hike. all I do is think about being out, but most of the people I know are finished so I would be out there alone. keep the faith. it gets better with time. do not discount your experience, it is a great accomplishment that very few can say they have done!!! keep in touch I am always up for a week day hike. I am planning a few trips for next year if you want to come Long Trail in August for 1 maybe a hike around trail days also. keep the faith it will get better and you will be just fine do not worry. BRONCO

  5. #5
    Nicksaari's Avatar
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    you might have a case of seasonal depression, which i believe most ppl suffer from.

    and, in all honesty, who cares what all your friends in PA are doing with their lives- 23 is waaaaaaaaaaaaay too young to get married. its not 1948. live your life, chase what makes you happy, focus on working and paying off your debt first- its only a matter of a couple of years of semi hard work to pay off debt. and with your time off while working off debt, hike, camp, surf, chase what you love doing most.
    and again, to reiterate the non-marrige thing: keep in touch with your married friends with kids and a home, you will find that most of them arent happy, or divorced and they've got kids in the middle, and their lives are unhappy as well. you will find solace in their unhappiness at the fact that *thank the lord* you didnt marry at 23.
    if he makes you happy and there is a reciprocated love between the both of you, ride it out. it is completely possible to have an enduring, loving relationship with him and not be married to one another. it could turn out in some years he is not the one, or it could strengthen what you have even furthur and leaves the future wide open to your determination and the ways of the wind (god, or whatever).

    wow, im rambling here once again.

    i dont know if you have an education, but now is a better time than ever to work your arse off and get some type of degree or certification. that would be a good goal a few years down the road to work towards. if you are educated, join the peace corps, take a paid internship teaching english to children in central america, do something sparadic that will better yourself, and yet piss everyone off stuck in PA bc they're stuck there for life.

    or, if you like to hike, get out of debt and keep hiking. go out west. be humbled in another country. live the rest of your life as an adventure, laughing at people who are married, unhappy, & fat with some desk job making who cares how much money a year.

    but whatever you do, DONT go to some happy & content third world country and spread (force) christianity. cause thats not cool and you DONT want to be that person.

    ive been at a crossroads for a long time now, and though i've never thru hiked (to which i am horribly jealous) and i am not female, i understand what you might be feeling. getting married young is indeed a novelty, it seems nowadays. i am from Va Beach, and beleive me, everyone is doing it there too- it is a ubiquity not native to just the east coast, its everywhere. dont become influenced by your friends lives and the cultural norms of your neck of the woods in PA. live above it.

    to each his/her own hike, right?

    i dont know if this has helped, or your thinking what a biased douche i am, but i can talk this stuff all day.

  6. #6
    Nicksaari's Avatar
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    speaking of John Gault...who is John Gault?
    now is a better time than ever to read some type of life changing piece of literature like:
    Atlas Shrugged
    The Fountainhead
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
    A Sand County Almanac
    anything by Muir
    anything by Thoreau

  7. #7

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    Be careful, Ayn Rand was no liberal, she's about as conservative as you get. Which I get a chuckle out of because all the freaky libs on the trail worship her.

  8. #8
    Registered User A-Train's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleodeon View Post
    In response to SBhikes' post, I've been thinking about how the trail has changed me as well. However, I feel the opposite.

    When I was prepping for the trail, I was working a lot, and reading and researching about the trail. I had a steady income and a really huge goal. It was great, I was going to a gym to "train" and then I left in March. Hiked the trail, flash forward, and I thought and talked to my hiking partners about my future plans for post-trail life.

    Now that I'm home, I'm in that mid-twenties life stage where all of my friends are getting married and buying houses. An exicting time, but here I am, not-so-subtly hinting at my boyfriend about these things because he's the only aspect of my life where I feel comfortable and happy. So we talk about the future and finances and a house eventually and a wedding, eventually. So, long story short, we talk about Money, money, money. On top of that, I have none, and I owe my parents money from a few trail expenses while I was gone. Plus, I'm living with my parents, ugh, after the freedom of college and then the trail, and can't afford to live on my own.

    Also, I'm working, sort of, as a substitute teacher. It's an ok job, when they call me to do it. Last week, 0/5 days, it's not like I need a paycheck or anything!!! So, after living the great life on the trail, now I'm back in the "real world" and have a million more headaches and things to worry about than before I left.

    I've been sitting around during the day, feeling horribly depressed and unmotivated. The days are getting shorter and colder so I cant be outside as much. My body is still somewhat hurting from the trail which keeps me from wanting to go out and be active. I feel like a big failure after this huge life accomplishment. I can't motivate myself to do anything now and I don't know what I want to do with my life.
    Don't get down, your feelings are pretty normal really. I remember going through much of this the past few years. The only thing that got me through was planning more hikes!

    The best advice I give people is to stay as active and involved as possible. You need to re-establish routines and significant things in your life (activites, work, hobbies, volunteering, etc.)

    As for the subbing, I hear ya. I've been doing it for 2 years to put myself through graduate school. If I get called it sucks, if I don't, it sucks. It will get better and remember you won't be doing it forever. It is a hard job. Trying and visit different schools and get yourself known. Once they find someone they like they'll call every day.

    Best of luck
    Anything's within walking distance if you've got the time.
    GA-ME 03, LT 04/06, PCT 07'

  9. #9
    Registered User Pickleodeon's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone so far.

    Nick, you said to chase what makes me happy. As of now, I'm so lost. I'm have an art degree and barely kept my sanity getting it, plus I haven't done anything remotely artistic in the year and a half since I graduated. I don't have anything that I feel passionate about- artwise.

    I'd like to do something productive, while I'm not working much, like it'd be nice to get my master's while I'm just subbing and don't have any take home work to do from school, but school districts pay for a master's, well, hopefully, with the economy some aren't doing it anymore. But I can't afford to go grad school right now without that.

    After getting off the trail, I feel like I've done my world travelling for a while, I'm ok with being boring and staying in Berks county, PA, as boring as it sometimes is. I'm ok with that. I'm ready to be a grown up and have a house and at some point get married. I want that stability. Most of my college friends are off in other parts of the country/world floating around doing odd jobs, or jobs they don't like.

    Some of it is definitely the seasons changing, I get it every year. But it's the added stress of having no money and the holidays coming up makes it worse. Plus, my friends and family are always like, Oh! What are you doing now that you're home? and trying to give me advice. It's like, oh I'm wasting my life away at 23 sitting in front of the tv.

  10. #10

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    After my hike last year I was also feeling lost. I wasn't able to complete my goal. As soon as I got home I found the volunteer page in the paper and joined something. It didn't make any money, but a lady there suggested a job I could get. I got the job and enjoyed it. I worked there all winter last year and I'm there again this year. Too bad it is temporary/seasonal.

    I don't know what I will do next, but it has been very helpful to do a simple job that leaves my mind able to think about the trail and decompress from the experience. Last year by about April I was starting to feel ready to return to corporate life. But then I set out on the trail again and blew that whole idea away again. We'll see what happens, but I really do like having a low-stress job that doesn't suck the life out of me. I hope I can find another job like this. I don't care about the money as much as I used to, but I do have savings and I don't live by myself, so there's at least a small cushion there.
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleodeon View Post
    Thanks everyone so far.

    Nick, you said to chase what makes me happy. As of now, I'm so lost. I'm have an art degree and barely kept my sanity getting it, plus I haven't done anything remotely artistic in the year and a half since I graduated. I don't have anything that I feel passionate about- artwise.

    I'd like to do something productive, while I'm not working much, like it'd be nice to get my master's while I'm just subbing and don't have any take home work to do from school, but school districts pay for a master's, well, hopefully, with the economy some aren't doing it anymore. But I can't afford to go grad school right now without that.

    After getting off the trail, I feel like I've done my world travelling for a while, I'm ok with being boring and staying in Berks county, PA, as boring as it sometimes is. I'm ok with that. I'm ready to be a grown up and have a house and at some point get married. I want that stability. Most of my college friends are off in other parts of the country/world floating around doing odd jobs, or jobs they don't like.

    Some of it is definitely the seasons changing, I get it every year. But it's the added stress of having no money and the holidays coming up makes it worse. Plus, my friends and family are always like, Oh! What are you doing now that you're home? and trying to give me advice. It's like, oh I'm wasting my life away at 23 sitting in front of the tv.
    I think one of the things you need to realize is you are returning to one of the worst recessions in the history of this country. There are very few job opportunities right now, let alone good ones. From what I have read it may take a few more years before these jobs begin to return. Life I believe has become much harder for the people growing up today, most of the good jobs, such as in manufacturing , that this country once had a bounty of and enjoyed, are long since gone. Prices for food,gasoline, cars etc.. have skyrocketed, to the point where people are becoming homeless everyday and at an alarming rate. I think buying a home is a great goal to have, and if you have the available funds, you can get a good deal I am sure on one right now. However this takes a lot of money, especially if repairs to it need to be made, preventative maintenance, etc...I think maybe you and your boyfriend(future husband) need to maybe look into renting a small home or apartment(if the price is right) first, in order to begin living independently from your folks, but first it would be in your best interest that you find suitable work that you enjoy so you will have the funds for all the bills that will ultimately follow.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleodeon View Post
    Thanks everyone so far.

    Nick, you said to chase what makes me happy. As of now, I'm so lost. I'm have an art degree and barely kept my sanity getting it, plus I haven't done anything remotely artistic in the year and a half since I graduated. I don't have anything that I feel passionate about- artwise.

    I'd like to do something productive, while I'm not working much, like it'd be nice to get my master's while I'm just subbing and don't have any take home work to do from school, but school districts pay for a master's, well, hopefully, with the economy some aren't doing it anymore. But I can't afford to go grad school right now without that.

    After getting off the trail, I feel like I've done my world travelling for a while, I'm ok with being boring and staying in Berks county, PA, as boring as it sometimes is. I'm ok with that. I'm ready to be a grown up and have a house and at some point get married. I want that stability. Most of my college friends are off in other parts of the country/world floating around doing odd jobs, or jobs they don't like.

    Some of it is definitely the seasons changing, I get it every year. But it's the added stress of having no money and the holidays coming up makes it worse. Plus, my friends and family are always like, Oh! What are you doing now that you're home? and trying to give me advice. It's like, oh I'm wasting my life away at 23 sitting in front of the tv.
    Others have said it - you're going through post-hike depression. Its not surprising - you spent a lot of time planning the hike before you did it, then you spent 5 or 6 months doing the hike - and now you've got a huge hole in your life where the hike used to be. But you're not alone.

    When I got off the AT, I spent 6 months looking for a job - and not really caring whether I found one or not. When I finished the PCT I had at least 3 job offers in the first month, took one of them and then spent 6 months working really hard to care about it. Turned out that it was the best job I'd had in 40 years. The message is - give yourself 6 months (at least). You need at least that much time to heal the hole in your life.

    Betcha you didn't come to the Gathering, did you? One of the best healing things you can do is to get around other people who've shared your experiences - even if you never intend to hike again. So - make sure you get to the Ruck.

    Oso loco - (didn't I tuckerize your pack last year?)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleodeon View Post
    After getting off the trail, I feel like I've done my world travelling for a while, I'm ok with being boring and staying in Berks county, PA, as boring as it sometimes is.
    Hey, don't be talking trash about Berks County unless you're referring to BMECC's Adopt-A-Highway segment bisected by the A.T. where it crosses PA 183. I called Ron to volunteer you on Sunday, November 29 at 10 AM. Will you be providing your own transportation or must we come fetch you?

  14. #14

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    Emerald you are awesome
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleodeon View Post
    In response to SBhikes' post, I've been thinking about how the trail has changed me as well. However, I feel the opposite.

    When I was prepping for the trail, I was working a lot, and reading and researching about the trail. I had a steady income and a really huge goal. It was great, I was going to a gym to "train" and then I left in March. Hiked the trail, flash forward, and I thought and talked to my hiking partners about my future plans for post-trail life.

    Now that I'm home, I'm in that mid-twenties life stage where all of my friends are getting married and buying houses. An exicting time, but here I am, not-so-subtly hinting at my boyfriend about these things because he's the only aspect of my life where I feel comfortable and happy. So we talk about the future and finances and a house eventually and a wedding, eventually. So, long story short, we talk about Money, money, money. On top of that, I have none, and I owe my parents money from a few trail expenses while I was gone. Plus, I'm living with my parents, ugh, after the freedom of college and then the trail, and can't afford to live on my own.

    Also, I'm working, sort of, as a substitute teacher. It's an ok job, when they call me to do it. Last week, 0/5 days, it's not like I need a paycheck or anything!!! So, after living the great life on the trail, now I'm back in the "real world" and have a million more headaches and things to worry about than before I left.

    I've been sitting around during the day, feeling horribly depressed and unmotivated. The days are getting shorter and colder so I cant be outside as much. My body is still somewhat hurting from the trail which keeps me from wanting to go out and be active. I feel like a big failure after this huge life accomplishment. I can't motivate myself to do anything now and I don't know what I want to do with my life.
    you're young, alive and healthy. what's the problem? quit feeling sorry for yourself and start living.

  16. #16
    Fat Guy Lemni Skate's Avatar
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    You sound like you have depression. It strikes a lot of people after accomplishing a major goal. I'd talk to my doctor about it if I were you.

    I'd also try to put another goal in front of myself to work for since planning for that was so great for you. It doesn't have to be another hike or even anything outdoorsy or athletic, but figure out what's #1 on your things-I-want-to-do-list and start working towards it.

    Give talks about your hike...church youth groups, scout groups, school clubs, elementary school classes...would probably love some first hand accounts.

    Getting married isn't going to cure any of this. The wedding will give you something to focus on for a while, but then the marriage starts and you're right back where you are now.

    If you can hike the AT you can do ANYTHING. Dream big.
    Lemni Skate away

    The trail will save my life

  17. #17
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    Just face reality - you are a slave of the American Elite. For a while you experienced freedom, but now you are back to your shackled life. You want what they have told you is the 'Good Life'... to marry a republican, live a house that's owned by the bank, give most of your earnings to the rich, and to squeeze out future Christian Soldiers. So think about it...deeply. Maybe your instints are trying to tell you something.
    Be free little pickle, be free. Be Alexander Supertramp.
    Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children.

  18. #18
    Registered User Reid's Avatar
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    Alot of things can change in a years time.

  19. #19
    Registered User Not So Fast!'s Avatar
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    I'm no head-doctor, Pickleodeon, but your post sounds dangerously like the very American syndrome of "I'll be happy when...."

    When I have a real job.

    When my boyfriend marries me.

    When I can move out of my parents house.

    When I can hike the trail again.

    I KNOW you are struggling, but make a choice to be happy NOW. Get off the computer, and away from the TV. Go volunteer somewhere. You will be amazed at your ability to find things to do where you feel welcomed, valued, and part of a community. Go make trail magic in Berks County (it certainly doesn't have to be for hikers).

    When you were on the trail, you put yourself out there and made it happen. So put yourself out there again!!! It's just geography......

    I wish you all the very best, but please understand that you are on a very slippery slope when you write that "my boyfriend...the only aspect of my life where I feel comfortable and happy". It's just not healthy to place that much of your well-being so squarely in the hands of another, especially when you refer to the freedom you found on the trail. Carpe diem!

  20. #20
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Quit whining, get off your butt, and do something. Make a conscious decision to be happy. Provide fulfillment to others - don't rely on others for your own fulfillment.

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