Hike Your Own Hike

…is one of my favorite hiker-isms.  “I’m just gonna hike mah own hike” you frequently hear them say.  They are going to go at their own pace, stop when they need to, take breaks when their legs hurt, and not try to get into a race with anyone else.  The purpose of this sage advice is to remind you that hiking is not about the people around you or breaking records, it is about enjoying nature and connecting with your inmost conscience.

As a life mantra, I have been telling myself this a lot recently especially during my Doctoral Program auditions.  I am literally in competition with other applicants to win the one position for which we are vying.  So it is easy to start to hike the hike of the mass of other flutists instead of hiking my own hike.

The truth of the matter is, schools aren’t looking for someone who can hike just like all the other hikers.  Ok, so maybe it isn’t exactly the same thing.  Obviously they are looking for musicians with a certain level of technical ability.  But if I get bogged down in the idiosyncrasies of technical playing, I will lose the joy of playing that would make me a great musician and nobody wants to hear someone who “just plays the notes”.

If I start to pace myself based on what people around me are doing, the results could be disastrous.  To beat a little more out of the hiking metaphor, if you go too fast, you could risk getting injured or burning out and not making it to the end of your trip.  If you go too slowly, you might never achieve your true potential by pushing yourself.

So I am going to try my best to hike my own hike during my auditions albeit with a high standards for myself.  I think any other course of action would leave me exhausted and unsuccessful.


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