By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
I'm with Stupid: Salvaging a personal bummer of a summer
Todd Hartley

There’s nothing like not being able to take advantage of all the great outdoor opportunities we have around here to make you appreciate all the great outdoor opportunities we have around here that you’re not able to take advantage of.

I know that sentence seems remarkably dumb, but it represents the paradox I currently find myself living out this summer. At the moment, I’m looking out my window at the lush, green slopes of Light Hill (which I’ve hiked up countless times in the past) while lying in bed, a position that I’ve involuntarily occupied for most of the last two months.

You see, I tore my right quadriceps tendon in early June, as I mentioned last week, and in addition to having to limp around in a giant leg brace, I also can’t drive a car. So, while my son is off to sailing camp at the Aspen Yacht Club on lovely Ruedi Reservoir, I’m stuck at home pining for all the things I wish I could be doing.

The great irony of that statement, of course, is that I’m not especially active even when I can be. I mean, I like to get out and hike with my dogs, take the occasional mountain bike ride or get up to Chapman Reservoir and go paddleboarding, but compared to many people in this valley I’m a veritable couch potato.

This was the summer I was going to change all that, though. I had a season pass to the Aspen Golf Club, and I was dead set on climbing a couple of fourteeners and further exploring the biking trail systems at Sky Mountain Park and Prince Creek. And I fully intended to continue getting out with my dogs every day at some of my favorite places, such as West Sopris Creek and the river trails alongside Crown Mountain Park.

Life had other plans for me, however, and did a damn good job of putting the kibosh on all of that. So now I find myself missing all those activities more than I ever would have thought possible. And, yeah, it kind of sucks.

It’s got me pondering the notoriously high suicide rates that plague us here in paradise. I’m not thinking of adding my name to the statistics, mind you, but I can see a lot more clearly why local folks might get down on life even when they seem to have everything. If it’s all there and you can’t do anything with it, depression is a very understandable reaction.

Fortunately, one of the other things we’re blessed with in abundance around here is professional help in the form of therapists, personal coaches and other means of getting our heads straightened back out. For me, a large part of coping has been working with Jeff Munn, a life coach (or, more specifically, an executive leadership coach) from Carbondale. He’s helped me try to put a positive spin on my temporary disability and avoid slipping into a morass of self-pity.

How is it all working out? Pretty well, actually. I’ve been waking up every morning and meditating before getting all the bad thoughts down on paper and out of my head, and rather than let my inactivity go to my waistline, I’ve committed myself to watching what I eat, and I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds since the beginning of May. I also just made a nearly impossible vow to avoid idle Internet surfing (yeah, right!). So, while I can’t say I’ve been enjoying this summer, it hasn’t gotten me down as much as it could have.

My point, I guess, is that should you find yourself in a similar position, where you’re bummed out about all the things you can’t do, it can help a lot to reach out to someone. I’m not saying you have to get professional help (although that’s generally the best kind to get), but get some kind of help. There’s no reason to get depressed without dragging someone else down with you.

Just kidding! But seriously, having someone to talk to can make a huge difference.

And if you find yourself in a situation completely unlike mine – meaning you can drive and walk and do physical activities – do me a favor: Get out there and hike (come grab my dogs if you do), bike, paddle, golf or do whatever you’re into for me. I can’t do it myself, so I’ll just live vicariously through you. In fact, feel free to email me and tell me how much fun you had. It’ll probably tick me off a little bit that I couldn’t join you, but I think I’ll be able to handle it OK.

Todd Hartley can usually be found limping from Southside to Old Town, or vice versa, and pretty much nowhere else. E-mail him tales of your more interesting adventures at todd@aspendailynews.com.