While I was climbing up I was thinking that when I get to the top, and look back over the view of Hout Bay, I will feel so good and it would be one of the most amazing views I have ever seen. Knowing that something amazing was waiting for me made the pain in my legs and my ever increasing heart beat completely worth while. And then it got me thinking about life and that life is, in fact, like climbing a mountain (well, my life is anyway). I do realise that references to this analogy have been made by many a thoughtful person but never have I truly got it, literally and physically.
Yes, life is tough (uphill) and then you get there (the top) and then it's just easy (downhill) but when climbing this mountain I had an opportunity to really experience an almost mini version of life (the way I experience it) and it was awesome.
Two minutes into the climb (we were walking up some stairs) I was already out of breath and my my thighs were aching and I thought, "F*#k! How the hell am I supposed to do this?" I voiced my concern (a bit more politely) and was met with a response that gave me so much relief. My uncle in-law (an avid climber) said, "Me too, don't worry." Later on, during the uphill, we were in a forest making our way to a waterfall and the beginning of a steep crevice that we would have to climb up. I realised while climbing above the waterfall that I actually enjoyed this part the most, the part that was more challenging was the part I liked. Don't give me wobbly rocks and slippery paths, these are just distractions; give me challenges! This is when it hit me, luckily not a branch or a rock, but a thought - The initial thought went something like this - "Hiking, climbing, mountain, life, uphill, downhill, reaching the top, ooooh! It's so similar!" But I will fluff it out a little for the sake of this blog.
Life, or any journey, is just like this hike. The beginning is tough and challenging, but with help and reassurance from other people and a lot of determination you will be able to get to the point of success. When you reach the top of the mountain, your first instinct is to look back and see how far you have come and to look at the view. Maybe some of us do not do this often enough in life, we just keep looking forward instead of acknowledging how much we have accomplished and really paying attention to our present. Once on top, you get the long walk at the top of the mountain, and as with life, even the top has its challenges. In my case there was muddy slush, loose pebbles and annoying spiky plants, so, in life, these refer to sticky situations, unreliable people (and self-doubt) and possibly the occasional prickly predicament. Either way, you have reached the top and the view is astounding! You have done it!
When it comes to mountain climbing, you start to go downhill when you've reached the other side or when you want to go home and so, the down hill decent begins. But wait, not only do you have the opportunity to see your view while climbing down, you also have to keep your eye on where you are going - one wrong turn and you are falling through the sky. The downhill can prove to be just as, or even more, challenging than the uphill.
How does the "downhill" apply to life? I am actually not sure yet and maybe that will have to be another blog. I am thinking that it has something to do with getting back home (or remembering to go home)- not forgetting where you came from and that even if you reach the top you should ideally always still have the essence of "home" with you. Even though I am not physically on the top of the mountain anymore, I remember the feeling and I can still see the views (emotionally, I am still there). What purpose would it serve for me to stay at the top of the mountain forever, in all my glory, if I had no one to share it with? As with life - get to the top, succeed, become famous, but don't forget that without "home", without your friends and family, none of it really matters. Maybe the "downhill" has something to do with that.
Anyway, here I am, I have reached the top (in life) but I am still making sense of it all (getting the lay of the land). I still have some aches of the journey uphill, but I am thoroughly enjoying the view and always remembering how far I have come and never forgetting the home that is always there for me.
|The crevice above the waterfall that I loved climbing :)|
|The view from the top of Hout Bay|
|The view from the other side over-looking Llundudno|
|Me about to go "downhill" :)|