Last year I had the brilliant idea to write my way through the last of the depression. It was a crap idea. I hadn't been reading or writing for several years, I couldn't organize my thoughts, or concentrate, and sitting in front of a pad of paper or computer and being stuck was misery. Conventional wisdom seems to be that you sit there and just write even if it's garbage because the process and persistence will get things rolling. Couldn't do it. Felt like punishment. So I started walking. Couple a miles a day, then 4 or 5. It was meditative and gave me ample opportunity to process every unexamined thought that'd been rattling around for years inside my skull and oh were there a lot of them. The are dozens are articles devoted to how walking can help with depression and while I truly don't know that I would've mustered the energy to walk while in the throes of depression, starting to walk at the tail end was the best thing I could've done for myself. More on that another time.
In July, I started hiking. Well, first, I downloaded a hiking app and spent a month agonizing over which trail because I'm middle aged and haven't hiked in years and I was still worried about my balance being shit from using the cane for three years and was I really fit enough and blah blah blah. Out of the blue, my daughter invited me hiking near her place and the mountain she suggested was reasonably small (I live on the edge of the Berkshires. All the mountains are varying degrees of small) and, because the app had rated it "moderate", it was on my possibilities list anyway. So the mountain she suggested is across from one that wasn't on my list because even though it's a shorter hike, it's rated difficult because it's steep with some rock scrambles and I had zero confidence in my ability. Of course, mountains aren't labelled, my daughter's sense of direction is questionable at best, and we ended up hiking the one I'd intended to avoid (after this this adventure, I stuck to maps and the app.) And you know, there's nothing like the boost that comes from accidentally succeeding at something that you just KNOW you can't do.
I was hooked. A week later, I attempted a 5.4 mile in and out hike that was definitely a stretch. Had to turn around a less than a quarter mile from the summit because I was exhausted and wasn't equipped for or interested in sleeping on the mountain just because I was too damn tired to climb down.
And that was last year. I regained clarity, perspective, and improved my physical and mental health. 4-5 mile walk 4-5 times a week and a hike up a mountain every week or two, mostly in and around the Berkshires with a few trips to NH for Monadnock and Mt Cardigan. I spent a lot, tho not nearly enough, of my childhood summers at my grandparent's cabin (which had running water but the toilet was a 2x3 wooden box over a pit)on 90 acres at the Springfield/Grantham NH line and I love that area so much. This year, I've already been on my first easy hike and am currently rebuilding endurance plus mastering the fine art of reading a map and using a compass. Walking 5-6 miles daily. Hiking a few times a month. Planning at least one hike a month in or near the White Mountains and thinking Mt Washington sometime between mid-July and mid-August.