At the end of 2013, I was not a healthy individual mentally or physically, but I had made some big changes and dropped some heavy vices to get on the path to being so. The success and improvement I saw over the course of 2013 led me to quitting smoking in 2014. The general wellness that followed my positive changes led me to begin exercising in 2015. And so on and so forth.
When I began to hike regularly last year, I was already feeling satisfied with myself and couldn't imagine that something would be able to consistently compel me to feel even better. However, once I began to connect quite profoundly with nature and feel the burn of my muscles as I trounced through the lush forest, I immediately knew that this was a hobby I had to sustain.
I can breath easier now than I did back then and I can walk many more miles with ease. My mind is no longer cluttered as I expunge any nonsensical thoughts each week and leave any negativity behind in the woods. I wake up almost every day earlier than I ever have, excited for something undefined. And, as a result of all of this, I am more focused and more determined than I ever have been.
When I compulsively purchased the PROACTIVEAHW domain in 2017, I wasn't really even sure what I was going to do with it. I knew it would be a way for me to share my stories and adventures with whomever it was that would read them. So, I faithfully blogged about my trips. However, with each outing I got the sense that PROACTIVE was more than just a personal blog.
I wanted (and want) PROACTIVE to be something bigger than myself and I could envision, albeit in many scattered pieces, a larger community, a particular kind of attitude, and all the things that one can possibly pull together in the very age we live in.
A mission started to take shape in my mind, "…to encourage a proactive lifestyle through enjoyment of the outdoors, healthier living, and mental stimulation by creating exciting, original content that will motivate our followers to action and to facilitate such action…"
It was shortly thereafter that I began to assemble a team of like-minded individuals. Christian Mena (@dahill_road) was the first person I reached out to after I felt an affinity for his photography. We have since collaborated on many hikes and discussed much of where I expect PROACTIVE will be going in the near future. When looking to inspire others, it is invaluable to work with somebody who understands what you are trying to accomplish enough to inspire you.
Others such as Zack Wiessner, Rebecca LaCroce, the Pickard Family, Guy & Tina Pasquino, Gary Wescott, Alex Cardona, and Blake Datz have all also had their hands in the incremental progress that has been made. I am forever grateful to have people believing in what we are doing, even when we have struggled to get the plane off the ground (or the engines even started).
Nevertheless, the past 6 months have been some of the most productive, exciting, and pleasurable of my entire life. Still, these aren't even the things I want to celebrate the most right now. The idea that this period of progress has led me to feel more confident and believe more in my own vision, to feel less constrained by the usual worries of going "off-trail", and to take more seriously this new endeavor is more pleasing than anything else. In many ways, this accelerated level of determination is right in line with the PROACTIVE way of thinking. Good leads to better and better begins to strive for best.
Within the past 90 days, we have designated a worthy insignia (one which I view pridefully even in its relative infancy), officially registered PROACTIVE as a business in the state of NJ, and have slowly begun implementing more of the PROACTIVE ideas than I can list. Just today, I began work on an entirely new, very important project with an extremely talented individual that will likely be unveiled by the end of the year.
Why am I telling you this? Only because I want anybody reading to look back upon this particular article as the moment that I decided we would begin to take this project, this idea, this mission - PROACTIVE - seriously. This is the moment when I decided to embrace a newfound focus and determination and turn to others to share.
I'm currently more than halfway through the "52-week-challenge" for the year 2018 (27 weeks of at least one or more hikes - every week this year, rain or shine). However, in my current mindset, I am tempted to issue a "52-year-challenge" and hike each week for the rest of my life. The positive effects on both my mind and body from hiking and being outdoors can not be understated.
I know there are many people who are similarly benefiting from hiking and climbing and nature. There are others who wish they could get out more, but who are aware of what they are missing. I am also keen to the many others who are struggling in one form or another and would find their lives greatly improved by starting to live a PROACTIVE lifestyle. I want to meet all of those people.
Stay tuned, we just started the engines and it seems like the perfect time to join the adventure. I look forward to seeing you all along the way...