What is it that stops us from doing the thing we should be doing?
Is it fear of the unknown?
Are we walking blindly into the wilderness without having made proper preparations? The map which we stowed so carefully away is somewhere in the bottom of the backpack but can’t be found. We have dropped our compass along the way by accident.
We could retrace our steps.
We could retrace our steps. Go back and look for it. There is a good chance it is lying somewhere in the middle of the track. There is also the possibility that it is stuck under a bush or has rolled down a hill. Then it would be lost or impossibly hard to find. In any case it would require extra effort and take us further from our goal. Perhaps the goal is not even where we first thought it would be. Maybe we secretly didn’t want to get there anyway and our real target was actually something interesting along the way. Perhaps the map is only useful for the initial planning and what we have retained in our memory will be enough to see us through. We have nature to help us. We have the sun and the stars. We can get by without a compass. We could just rely on our own inner magnetism and sense of direction. It has got us this far.
Is it fear of exposure?
Is it like being on a mountaintop and not having the necessary breathing equipment or insulated clothing? We could look for wood and build a fire. If that is not available we could retrace our steps down to where the air is thicker. We can always go back and get new supplies. Wrap ourselves in something more suitable, get an oxygen mask and make a renewed attempt. We could also just hold our breath and push on. It’s a risk but a calculated one.
One thing to be aware of is that mountains always have another side. They have many sides. The summit that you see before you may also not be the penultimate top. It may hide another one behind it. There could be a series of them and there usually is.
I suppose that’s what it all boils down to. The choice to continue onwards or go back and attempt it from a different angle. Mountains and walking trails usually have more than one route available to follow. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again. Seek another path. Look for something that is rated for your abilities. Maybe you are attempting something that is purely beyond you at this stage. Maybe you need more training or don’t have the physical strength. But then this is not a physical problem. It’s mental. It’s in your head.
It’s all in your head.
Procrastination goes beyond these choices. You are stuck. You are already frozen to the spot. It’s more like being stuck at the crossroads. Confronted with either the decision to continue or to retrace and then balking at making any choice whatsoever. That is the third option: don’t do a damn thing. Just remain where you are. Just sit down and stay put. Give up. Procrastinate. The downside is that if you stay there too long you will shrivel up and die. You will asphyxiate, you will freeze, you will run out of food or water.
There is the outside chance that someone will come along and find you. The probability of that happening is not good though, especially if you are truly in the wilderness. You might be lucky but the chances are that if they find you they won’t have extra supplies. They will only have what they can carry themselves. They wouldn’t have counted on having to help someone else. They could be having to confront their own inadequacies. So help might not even be available. It will eventually be up to you, and you alone, to find a way out.
Find a way out!
It’s better to try and think positive and forge ahead. The mountain chalet could be just around the corner. The hikers hut concealed in that clump of trees. You may even stumble upon a highway or widely paved road. There could be a signpost that you can’t see from where you’re sitting. One of those big white poles bristling with arrows and stamped with distances. If you stay where you are you will never know. Take the plunge, be it going forwards or backwards. It is of no consequence. Keep moving. Don’t go nowhere. Find a solution. Don’t wait too long. The clock is ticking. Remember you have limited supplies.
They won’t last forever.
Get it done before it’s too late.