This post is inspired by an experience that involved a lot of pain, “what the fuck’s,” and the exhilaration of succeeding.
Two years ago, I decided that I wanted to do a 14er. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s hiking to the peak of a mountain that’s at or above 14,000 feet.
My goal was Mt. Bierstadt. Its peak: 14,060 ft.
It’s “supposedly” one of the easiest ones in Colorado and me being the rookie that I was chose that one for that specific reason.
The first experience was a treacherous experience.
My friend and I went on the weekend of Mother’s Day and we were not prepared.
For one, I was not in the physical condition to do this.
Second, the parking lot to the trailhead was closed so we parked about a mile below.
Third, we discovered that the trail was covered in snow when we finally got there. And for me, it was hip-chest deep.
I SUNK at my tiny height of 5′.
Fourth, I don’t know why… but we completely spaced eating breakfast.
We came pretty close but turned back around as thick clouds started making their way.
We failed. And it took us 12 hours to fail.
The second time, I thought it would have been fun to try it with my kids.
It was fun. And I was much better prepared for it.
We went in the middle of July so the snow had melted and the parking lot was open.
But as fun as it was, I still didn’t get to enjoy the view at the peak because we were all tired and my kids weren’t used to the elevation.
The THIRD time, I’m just going to cut to the chase.
I did it.
I would say I’m more out of shape this year than I was two years ago when I first attempted it but gosh darn it, I was going to make it this time, no matter what.
As I started surpassing the points that I had previously reached and got closer to the top than I ever did, it was only getting harder.
But the thought of quitting never crossed my mind.
This was it.
And when I got to the top, the view, the people (all so very nice and encouraging), the doggos, the feeling of accomplishment – it was all very surreal.
The experience as a whole was painful.
My feet were hurting, my shins were on fire, towards the top, I took about a million rests.
Going down took just as long as my tiny body had to climb down rocks and boulders in an already depleted state.
There were kids there that did this so much faster and efficiently than I ever could.
And people that ran up this mountain and ran back down.
But the next day, after an epsolm salt bath and sleeping in for 10 hours, the feeling of accomplishment was gone.
This was a three year feat and it was gone in a moment.
It was hard to wrap my head around the idea that this was something I’ve been wanting to do, fail to do on more than one occasion, but it has finally been completed.
And then I felt this void. Like, now what?
But this void also felt familiar in a much smaller sense.
It was like when I finally left my ex-husband.
It wasn’t until I realized that the only way to make things better was to end my marriage.
And when that thought crept into my mind, it took me months to get to the end of the road.
It was mostly mental at first. I had to wrestle with that idea and it was a turmoil of emotions and processing.
Do I really want to end this? Is this really the only option? Could I survive this? What about my kids? Is there another solution?
I felt grief, pain, and sorrow.
Once I came to terms with the idea of leaving my ex-husband, my questions and thoughts changed to,
Can I really do this? How? What do I need to do?
At this point, I was feeling scared, doubtful, and didn’t trust myself to be the mom that my kids needed.
But, 4-5 months later, it finally happened. Not by my own decision or timeline.
But he snapped and I had to pack my things and leave.
It was sudden but it was done. I was free.
My marriage ended. What I was processing and picturing in my head became a reality.
And my emotional response was not what I expected it to be.
Even though I had time to think things over, I thought I would have felt pain and some sort of remorse.
But it was the exact opposite. I felt peace.
What I imagined to be a point in my life’s timeline called, “My life is over,” was actually a new beginning.
It’s not over.
Life is never over until your body goes into it’s eternal slumber.
Life keeps going. No matter how good things are in life. Or how bad.
It doesn’t matter.
The moments pass.
In seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years.
And you can stay stuck on the last sentence of the last chapter while the book keeps going or you can pick up the pencil and take over.
I’ll go deeper into this analogy in another blog but your life has purpose.
God created you for a reason and you were put through this experience for a reason.
So, what now?
There are more mountains to climb and it won’t be easy. It’ll be painful and there’ll be lots of “what the fucks,” being said along the way, but in that very real sense, more growth, successes, joy, laughter, and moments to experience will come by and those are the moments you don’t want to miss.
Life is meant to be beautiful despite its chaos.
Keep living life.