Sometimes you don't know what you have until it's gone

Photo: Mike Harris

Sometimes you don't know the true value of what you have until it's gone. 

As such a core human experience, we've created innumerable cliches to explain it. But that doesn't make the experience any less real or any less true.

I've observed so many people pining away after something they don't have--living in a different place, working in a different job, being with different people--that they don't ever truly live in the moment by enjoying and appreciating what they already have. And sometimes, when they finally do make that jump, take initiative and make a change, they realize that what they had hoped for and wanted so badly isn't quite so incredible after all.

I've tried to take that to heart in my own life. 

This realization plays out in a number of ways, the chief one being an attempt to appreciate and fully embrace every moment for the joy that it can provide. 

Second, I try to be very careful when I hope and dream about a change, thinking that it will seemingly fix all the "problems" that I'm experiencing in life. We think the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence (there's one cliche), but when we actually cross the fence, it turns out there are way more weeds in the grass than we could see before. As a result, I do my best to temper my enthusiasm when dreaming about a change. Some changes do result in incredible things, whereas others... the weeds tend to crop up.

What motivates these thoughts today is the truism, "absence makes the heart grow fonder." (What did I tell you about cliches?) As I carefully weighed whether or not to under go ACL surgery, I knew from experience what I'd be giving up for a period of time--possibly a long period of time--in the hopes that life would then be better. Would the grass really be greener on the other side of the fence? Or would I just be trading one problem for another? Eventually, I had to take the leap. 

While I was as prepared as anyone could be for what I'd face on the other side, after four weeks of sedentary, indoors life aside from the occasional bit of physical therapy (hardly qualifying as "exercise"), my longing to get outside and adventure in the mountains has only been rekindled and stoked into a flame that never dies. 

While experiencing that passion and drive anew is agonizing in the moment as I can't act on it (I tried to walk the dog a couple days ago and managed a 0.4-mile round-trip jaunt), I know that when I return to my activity and venture back out into my mountains that the experience will be fresher and sweeter than ever before!