Part of me wants my fellow hikers to name me. Of course, then I'll more than likely end up with some snarky name associated with bodily fluids or noises (we are not an overly mature bunch on the trail!). Therefore, I think I'd like to find a name before I head out there.
I would love to have suggestions. And perhaps even why you are making that suggestion. If it's too personal, please respect my paranoia of putting all this up on the web, and send me a private note/phone call. But, really, I'd like to hear what sort of names you would think of for me.
Secondly, I'm thinking of what percentile I rank among thru-hikers. Statistics say that only 12% of the people that plan a thru-hike actually achieve hiking the entire 2,174 miles. So... what percentile am I? Do I possibly think that I could really be in the top 88th percentile? That does, after all, seem a bit conceited. But, I'm an over-achiever and I've never really accepted anything below a 90% on anything - phys ed scores, school tests, gpa's, blood pressure and cholesterol reads...
There are lots of reasons people get taken off the trail. Injury is probably one of the fewest causes. Mostly, it's loneliness, boredom, fear, disappointment, or discomfort. All of those are emotional or mental states. People have continued hikes with an arm in a cast or a broken rib (don't let that freak you out, mom!). So, it seems to me that the perseverance level would be what determines whether someone is in the top 88th.
My family is very practical, and they have all individually said to me something to the extent of: "There's a difference between bravery and stupidity. Don't be stupid." I suppose, that what one person calls perseverance, another calls dumb stubbornness. What one calls brave, another calls stupid. And only the results will determine for history's sake which it really was. It was brave if there person succeeded, and stupid if the person failed. Or... it was brave if the person chose caution and wanting to be home with family over taking a risk, trying something outside of their comfort zone. Or, or, or.
I don't know if I'm in the top 88th. That will be determined on the Trail. For now, I can only envision the worst and see how I can work through it AND stay on the Trail. Then, when those things actually happen, we'll find my true test of character, and let everyone decide which character trait it is actually displaying - perseverance and courage, or pride and stupidity.
Maybe my trail name should be "89th" - I'll be just good enough to finish :-)