I had so many great plans for how I would write about the monumentous reaching of Day 28, the last day in the Engine 2 28-Day Challenge. I wanted to write about the Tater Tot Debacle of Day 26. I wanted to write on Day 28 about what a tough, unrelenting physically and spiritual journey I'd just completed. (I may or may not have just read Cheryl Strayed's lovely memoir "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.") I may or may not have been over-identifying with her. Because, in fact, only one of us set out to traverse a tremendous stretch of land, crossing multiple treacherous terrains, many for which she was unproperly prepared. I'll give you a hint: it wasn't me. But I'm a projector and as I read her book - fairly devoured it, actually - I'm not ashamed to say I did feel the slightest thread of comradeship. Maybe thread is too strong a word. But what's less than a thread?
Either way, if you will stop laughing long enough at that comparison, I will embarrass myself further by trying to explain what I mean. My journey was unknown, as was Strayed's. I wasn't sure what I was in for and sometimes found myself woefully unprepared, just like Strayed. I encountered impenetrable walls of ice and crossed paths with rattlesnakes and bears. Just like...oh, forget it.
But it was hard in its own way and, I will confess, when my enthusiasm flagged around days 26 and 27, it was reading Strayed's book that injected me with instant perspective. How am I going to complain about not eating cheese when I'm reading about someone trekking in hundred-plus degree heat with half her body weight in supplies on her back? Don't worry. I did complain about it. Plenty. The book just made me feel like more of an ass for it.
I had all these thoughts about what Day 28 was going to look like, feel like. What it would mean. You know, heavy thoughts, man.
But none of that navel-gazing really came into play because Day 27 found me laid out with a cold/flu virus the likes of which I hadn't known. Two days of exhaustion, shakiness, dizziness, pain swallowing, headache and nonstop sneezing. (Now am I on par with Cheryl Strayed? Still no? Sheesh.)
There were no big Day 28 feasts. No parades. No celebratory phone calls or embarrassing deliveries of flowers. Just me, on the couch, feeling puny.
I think, in a way, that's a good thing. Because by the time I came up for air, albeit unsteadily, a couple of days had gone by and we were still just eating the way we had been eating. Without much fanfare, we decided to stay the course, soldier on, sallyforth.
And that, I think, is something even Cheryl Strayed might admit we have in common.