My husband and I have hiked at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois so often over the years that we joke with friends that we could do it blind-folded. It’s only about an hour and half drive from where we live and the sights are beautiful, so it makes for an easy day trip out of the city and suburbia. We’ve hiked and camped there since we first started dating, almost 18 years ago, and my husband used to visit when he was a boy. It holds a special place in my heart, as I first realized I was in love with my husband on those trails and each time we go it’s a way to reminisce about the past and discuss the future.
Over the years though we’ve had to find other places to hike. Starved Rock has become the place that everyone in the city likes to visit, as it’s not too far away, there’s a beautiful lodge that serves a great lunch and the town on the outskirts of the park has everything to lure in tourists including a water park. When my husband suggested we visit last week, I grumbled about going, stating that the reason I like to hike is to get away from everyone, not meet all of Chicagoland on the trails.
We finally decided to go on a Monday, as I had the day off and we thought we might avoid the weekend crowds. When we pulled into the parking lot it was relatively empty. In fact, we only ran into a couple of hikers all morning. It was such a gift and felt like a new experience within the quiet of the woods and solitude of each of the cascades and waterfalls that make this park so incredibly beautiful.
But no matter how much I may protest, I never regret going to Starved Rock. We’ve been there when it’s so crowded you are walking with people in front of you and behind you. We’ve taken friends there and made lasting friendships on those trails as we discuss life and enjoy the outdoors. We’ve seen the trails evolve as the rangers work to make them safer for the large quantity of hikers that pass through on a daily basis. We’ve made realizations about each other and mapped out our dreams as we’ve trekked through the woods.
When we were heading home in the early afternoon that day my husband was teasing me about how I had grumbled about coming. We would have missed this great hike we had just enjoyed. As I reflected on everything we had done that day it made me realize Starved Rock was much like the hot room in which you may complain about having to go and how long the series takes, but you never regret the class you went to, just the ones you missed.
Sure, the hot room is crowded on the weekends, or during a challenge, and you feel as though you have no space as other practitioners put their mats down directly next to yours. Or you pull into the parking lot and wonder if you have the wrong class time. “Where is everybody?” you think, nervous that you might get called out on every single posture if the class is too small. And each time you come to the studio you are different as well. You might feel great and ready to conquer the series, or stressed and in need of just a simple 90 minutes to yourself.
But the thing is you never regret coming to class. It’s a way of figuring out who you are today, in this moment. Of checking in to see where you’re headed as you reflect on where you were. To take care of yourself. To heal yourself. Because it’s the things you don’t do in life that you truly regret, not the ones you take the time to go through or accomplish. So get out of your own way and get to the hot room. You never know what might happen throughout the 90 minutes – it might be the best class yet!
If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy reading: