What Once Were Challenges…

… are now accomplishments.

Yesterday, I went out and grabbed some challenges. Normally, I save them for logging at later times. I never know when I’m going to need one to fill in a day of my streak (which, even though I am no longer officially keeping track, just passed 1,600 days). Today, however, I decided to go grab some and log one. An infamous local cacher has a ton of challenge caches around Austin, and I decided to find a handful of them. I take more than a bit of delight in it. At one point, he dropped a trail of challenges, a little over thirty of them at once. I remember looking them all over and realizing that I did not qualify for a single one of them. I wasn’t exactly new at the time, either. I’d already completed the Texas County Challenge, so imagine my chagrin at being wholly excluded from these.

Fast forward a couple of years, and things are a little different. That cacher is a different person (though his caches are still a bit insidious), and I have done so much more. So when I found that one of his challenges required making finds in ten different state capitals (actually in the counties of ten capitals), I was ready for it. I traveled to the edge of town to the appropriate guardrail, found the film canister, and claimed my cache for the day. And there were more guardrails up the road, so I grabbed a few more while I was out there. Some of them I had already accomplished (I had gotten hundreds of winter-related caches and ones needing a 4X4). Some of them I hadn’t gotten to yet (I don’t have many boat caches or any EarthCaches with a difficulty or terrain of five). All that mattered, though, is that I remembered a time when I couldn’t even have considered any of these. They were once tasks completed by someone with an entire magnitude more finds than I have. Now they’re attainable goals. That is what victory feels like.

However, there is something even more important than victory. I don’t know everyone who reads this, but there’s possibly someone doing so who has an order of magnitude fewer finds than I do. Some caches seem daunting, whether they’re challenges or just ordinary finds. But you know something? I used to be you, and I’ve gotten to this point. At the same time, I am still you. There are things I find difficult, even impossible, even though I know they’re hardly insurmountable. I know a lot of people with an order of magnitude more finds than me (and one person with two orders more). One day, I’ll do what they’ve done just as you will one day do what I have. Sure, it took me four years to get here, but just imagine where we’ll all be four years from now!

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