My wife, Chris, and I visited Yosemite National Park last week. It’s a glorious place and Chris has memories from there all the way back to when she visited with her family when she was 10 years old. She has been countless times since and knows the park inside and out, backward and forward.
One of the main attractions there is the trail system. There are literally hundreds of miles of trails to various waterfalls and lookout points. They are rated from “easy” to “extremely strenuous,” the hardest of which is 17 miles round trip and changes elevation by 7,000 feet! (I would say that “extremely strenuous” is a bit of an understatement!)
Due to weakness and damage from breast cancer treatment, Chris can no longer hike even the easiest of trails, but she still loves to be there because of its beauty and her fond memories.
While we were there we struck up a conversation in the cafeteria with a woman who also had been visiting Yosemite and enjoying its beauty for many years. She told us of her mother, who loved to hike the trails and even made it to the top of a very difficult trail when she was in her 70s!
She also shared with us something her mother had told her before she died; “I will stop coming here when I can no longer hike.” And, true to her word, when should could no longer hike she stopped coming to Yosemite and died several years later.
Think about that for a second. Chris can no longer hike but she is happy to make the 10-hour drive just “to be there.” When this woman couldn’t hike, she stopped coming to Yosemite even though she lived several years longer.
What’s the difference between them?
Here’s the difference: the woman focused on what she COULDN’T do, my wife focused on what she COULD do.
Sure, my wife is sad and frustrated that she can’t hike like she used to, but she CAN still enjoy many sights and activities from the car or on short walks, and she finds joy and comfort in just being there.
What do you focus on? Do you focus on what you CAN’T do instead of what you CAN do? If you do, what are you missing?
The woman in this story missed several years of enjoying the beauty of one of our most amazing National Parks.