“He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary.” ― Friedrich Neitszche
There’s a moment when I was climbing Mt. Sniktau while visiting Colorado in July, that I realized that I’m capable of more than I think. As my best friend and I hiked up, there were so many times we thought we had made it to the top. But then the mountains continued up into the distance.
We started later in the day and I brought a flashlight just on the chance that it took us till nightfall to get back down. It was hard to push up higher and higher into the mountain summit in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The 13,240-foot thirteener was recommended to me by a fellow photographer and local to the area.
As we climbed, we tired, and the air thinned. Just as I was about to give up, Christina would cheer us on. When she would tire and say that she couldn’t go any further, I’d find the strength to keep us going with songs and banter.
We traveled up and had the path to ourselves for the most part, but had our eye on two people just a little in front of us. We thought if they kept going, we would keep going. As the pair descended, we stopped and talked with the mother and son who were persistent in reaching what they perceived to be the top. We learned later, that where they stopped wasn’t the summit.
It took us only 1.5 hours but we made it up to the highest point and cheered. Feeling exhausted and seeing the sunset, we headed back. What’s funny is that the entire time, although it wasn’t a long time, it felt so impossible.
So much in life is about avoiding the present pain or distracting away from moments of silence. I’m working to lean into the discomfort this year. As it comes to a close, I can look back on so many events that I could’ve resisted.
Moving to a new place was hard to handle emotionally. Being alone all the time can feel very lonely. But I am persisting through this because I know that I’ll learn how to better handle moments of quiet and calm. I’m pushing myself to interact more with others, especially heading into winter when I tend to hibernate and gain weight by eating to keep warm.
Getting my dental work was an excruciatingly painful experience and finally after almost a year, I’ve got the permanent set of bridges/crowns on and will be writing about how that experience was emotionally challenging in addition to physically painful.
I wrote earlier this year about learning to face fear when near and in water as I trained to be a rafting guide.
The point is the end result of accomplishing something or facing fear trumps the momentary pain almost always.