I may have mentioned in the books I plan to read post that I had gone through Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club book recommendations and even added a few books to my list. This is one of the books I added and decided to buy a month or two ago.
Every time I think about the title, I remember the hymn Amazing Grace.
The excitement as I got to finally start reading it was on another level. I think in my mind, I thought it was going to be like Tara Westover’s Educated. Shock on me.
I struggled through almost half of the book.
I got to the second half of the book and this is where I started really enjoying it.
Cheryl Strayed starts Wild with a little background of life before she decided to take on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Then life happened and in an instant, she felt lost.
That’s when she decided to go on an intense hike, hoping to find healing. All this she does without any hiking experience.
Being a solo woman backpacker is one thing. Being a solo woman backpacker with no prior hiking experience is a whole other different thing.
Amid the challenges on the PCT hike, Cheryl constantly reflects on the events that led her to take the hike: the death of her mother four years earlier, the falling apart of her family, her marriage breaking down, and using heroin.
Here are my take-outs from the book:
Everything that has happened to you in the past has led you to this moment you are experiencing
There is a point during her hike that Cheryl asks questions that resonated so much with me.
What if every single thing that has ever happened to you has got you to where you are right now? Even the things you consider to be bad? What if it all got you to where you are today?
This year, I have thought about these a lot, especially with regards to so many of my plans that didn’t work out last year and how that led me to this point.
“What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently than I had done.”
Learn from your mistakes
We have all made mistakes. We have done things we shouldn’t do. And that’s okay. What if instead of dwelling on our mistakes, we move forward?
You can’t change the past. All you can do is accept, learn from it, and move forward.
Cheryl looked at every mistake she had made as a learning opportunity for her.
“What if heroin taught me something?”
You can’t change what happened. You can move on.
So forgive yourself and forgive others. Forgiveness is healing and empowering.
“What if I forgave myself? What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have?”
To move forward, you need to deal with fear
As a first-time hiker backpacking alone, Cheryl was afraid. She quickly realized that if she gave into fear, her whole journey would be doomed before it even begun.
This applies to our lives as well. If you give in to fear, all it will do is hold you back. To get to where you want to, you need to deal with the fear that you have.
“Fear to a great extent is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told.”
Take a step at a time
Cheryl’s journey was not without challenges. Her body was giving way, but that didn’t deter her from her goal.
By constantly taking a step at a time even when nothing was in her favor, she eventually reached her destination.
“I could go back in the direction I had come from, or I could go forward in the direction I intended to go.”
This book is available in PDF.