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The Trail Less Traveled By

Posted on June 30 2013

“Two roads diverged…”

I stand at a fork in the trail. The sun scorches above me. The wind sweeps up the humid air and carries it towards the mountains. The Mediterranean waves crash ceaselessly below me. Two options lay before me. One I’ve run before. Beautiful. Rolling. Peaceful. A winding single-track trail that gently hugs a hillside opposite the sea. The other trail ascends the mountainside and then quickly disappears with a sharp veer. Steep. Grueling. Unknown. I check my watch. 34 minutes left. I should probably take the trail I’ve run before. It’s definitely easier and my legs are tired from yesterday. I didn’t sleep very well last night. Too much on my mind. My muscles are still tight. I’ll just try the hard trail another day. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe when I feel better. The reasons start to pile up and I begin to think that I should take this as a sign. I should be smart. Just as I begin to head down the familiar trail, I take one last look at the climb. I wonder where it will take me? Who knows whats on the other side of that turn? What if? I try to suppress the desire. “You’re an idiot Luca, look at how steep that is.” “Do you want to hurt yourself?” “You’re already tired as it is, you don’t need to run that.” There are always a million reasons not to do something. I take a left and leave the easy option behind me.

Sweat pours down my face. My eyes burn. My legs burn. My lungs burn. With every corner I round I find another climb, each one steeper than the last. As I start to falter I remember why I chose this trail. I chose this trail because it scared me. Not because of how steep it is. Not because of how hard it is. It scared me because it is unknown. Much like everything else in life, there is no certainty in having chosen this trail. I don’t know where it will take me. I don’t know how much it will hurt, how far it will go. Sometimes we are forced into situations in which we don’t know what the outcome will be. These situations scare us. They make us feel small, insignificant, powerless. They make us doubt ourselves. With each step I take I begin to doubt myself more and more. It’s too hot. The trail is too steep. My legs are too tired. Right as I’m about to give in and turn around it all starts to come together. I look up and see a peak in the distance. I have no idea how far it is or how steep the trail is to get there. All I know is that I want to get there. While the journey is unknown, the destination is clear. And in that lies the beauty of it all. Even if I know where I want the trail to take me, I have to go through the journey of getting there. No matter how difficult or treacherous the path may be, if the destination is worth it, the journey is worth it. In life the things we want are rarely ever handed to us. Every once in a while something comes along that is worth fighting for, worth being in pain for. One could take the easier path and avoid risking failure, but success without risk is hardly something to celebrate. The moments that define our lives are those in which we give every ounce of effort in bodies, minds, and souls for what we love. Success doesn’t come from trophies or first place medals. Success comes from pushing oneself into the unknown and fighting the fear that comes along with it. It comes with putting faith in yourself to rise up to any challenge that confronts you. Success is when you give everything to what you love, not because you have to, but because you want to.

With one final sprint I crest the final hill and put the unknown behind me. I leave all my doubt behind me. I take one last stride to find myself on top of the world. The sea expands endlessly in front of me, and for that one moment nothing matters. Life goes on for everyone else, the people at the nearby beach enjoy their day, the small village is alive with movement, and yet my life stops for one brief moment. One perfect moment in which I am in touch with the world around me. I know the moment is fleeting. I know it is temporary…

“…and that made all the difference”

Il mio cuore piange senza di te amore mio.

 

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