Loop Hangover


Three weeks after leaving The Great Loop, I still have a hangover — to borrow a phrase from one of my readers. It’s strange, because I was eager to leave it in some ways. That last month was pretty tough on me, for reasons too complex to share here.

A hangover refers to the lingering effects of over-indulgence. One can indulge too much in something pleasant or unpleasant. (I tend to indulge in self-criticism, which is definitely unpleasant. Also unhelpful.) So I wonder, what did I indulge in on The Loop that causes this? Hmmm.

It occurs to me that even though I chafed under it, I absorbed the simplicity and clear priorities. Keep us safe and healthy. Plan for food, and water. Figure out the next stop. Keep my head on straight. And don’t forget to take in the views!

Life is simpler when you are on “a great adventure.” Take the next step. And the next. Be strong. Be present. Finish it.

And then?

In my last post, I talked about the “after-gap.” I guess I’m still in it, here at my primary home outside of Washington D.C. I am back on my workout schedule, and slowly returning to my other commitments. Volunteering in various ways, getting active again in my church, taking care of home maintenance, “fixing stuff,” catching up on paperwork, reconnecting with friends and family…and making time for those meaningful conversations that were harder to have on The Loop. In other words, reconnecting with the rest of my life.

So what’s wrong with that? Nothing. But something has changed. I have changed. Not in a dramatic way, but an abiding one. I can’t quite tell yet exactly how. Something about being more authentic.

People often talk about doing what makes you happy. “Seize the day” and all that. Well, yes. And what “makes us happy” can evolve…maybe should evolve…as we ourselves evolve.

So what makes me happy, post-Loop? I admit to the urge to start planning a second run! But that feels a little bit like escapism to me. A daily schedule can be a kind of escape from the nagging stuff that is more complicated than “where next?”

So I will head north again, to my rustic camp on a bay of Lake Superior, and contemplate some more. Take long walks in the woods. Daily rows, or paddles. Re-stack woodpiles that fell over. Pull weeds. Build bonfires. Read in the hammock. Breathe.

Maybe I will come up with “the answer.” Maybe not. Either way, it’s OK. Thanks to The Loop (and its hangover), I am more comfortable now with discomfort.

I wonder how many Loopers come up with that one! 😄

11 thoughts on “Loop Hangover

  1. Beautifully said, Mary. Life will never be quite the same after such an experience. Best wishes and blessings as you seek your “new normal.”

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  2. Yep, discomfort is growth or at least leads to growth! After this adventure we may not be satisfied with the “lazy boy recliner”. And on this adventure we’ve discovered creative solutions;) Your solutions will, no doubt, be GRAND!!

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      1. No recliners for us either! At the moment we’re on Lake Huron; East Tawas. Depending on weather……cross our wake in a couple weeks😊

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  3. Greetings from Lanse, MI.
    Mary, the best way that I have found to resolve discomfort is to help others with their burdens. Help them with their fallen woodpiles, and the yard work that they can no longer perform.
    The feeling in your heart after helping someone will overcome all of your troubles, and will help them with theirs. Then you can deal with your chores with a happy heart.

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    1. You are so right! It’s one reason I do volunteer work, errands for neighbors, etc. (While in the UP, I work with Little Brothers/Sisters, or at least did so for a few years) I would add one thing, though. I have found that discomfort, like other emotions, are useful and should be felt before (or as) they are resolved. Many of us were raised to avoid discomfort, and any emotion viewed as “negative” — especially if you are 100% Finnish. (Hehe!) We are taught those are weaknesses or challenges to be overcome. We believe there’s “something wrong” if we aren’t happy. So we launch from one distraction to another, or latch onto somebody with “the answer,” or become permanently morose because we don’t know how to work through it. There’s value in staying with the discomfort until it teaches you something, as long as you don’t get stuck there. And…I believe it’s possible to feel incongruous things at the same time…discomfort and gratitude, sadness and hope, certainty and doubt….

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  4. If you need a new journey join us on an OAT trip to Switzerland, Northern Italy and Venice in Early October.
    Bob

    Robert L. Hanson

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    1. Why thank you! I’ve been to all those places (more than once) and would like to travel mostly to places I haven’t been, but the attraction of going with relatives is pretty powerful…if not this one, maybe another!

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