You don’t know what to do.
I finished my hike from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail a month and some change ago. Completing the journey brought up the same feelings as finishing my first novel. Confusion. Loss. Disappointment. Yearning. Yes, I learned that yearning can be a feeling.
I was lucky enough to have a party with friends at the northern terminus, at the end of the hike. Celebration was in order, for sure. But the excitement dwindled as the people stepped away, one by one, out of the lives we had each built for ourselves over the last six months, the lives we had put years of planning into.
Accomplishing something great is enjoyed in the moment and in the memory of it. Finishing it is not so much fun.
The journey had ended. The wandering had begun.
The city was overwhelming with its noise and congestion. Home was just as bad with all of the bills and responsibilities and societal expectations dumped on top of you like a heaping pile of wet laundry. Congratulations were more uncomfortable than appreciated. People don’t know what to say because they don’t understand. They’re happy that you finished your thing, but they don’t get that you’re sad because your thing is over. It was your thing. Now what do you have?
You have to start again. Start new projects. Work on a thing. Accomplish a new thing.
Being done is the worst part of the journey. People don’t like it when you’re not working on a thing. You don’t like it when you’re not working on a thing. Working to improve yourself, working on a career, working to help others, working to make a new thing.
When a journey is done, you don’t know what to do. When a journey is done, you need to start something new.
Crossposted at TryBeWrite