As I find myself already off to a less than ideal start to my return to Everest courtesy of the Denver Blizzard of 2016 – I felt the urge to remind myself of a few things.
As John Denver so eloquently put it, “…[your] bags are packed, [you’re] ready to go…”, all the preparation and work is done – your adventure is beginning. This is exciting! I know you don’t feel that just yet, and that’s okay, you will soon enough. Returning to Nepal will hold a lot of emotions for you, so here are a few reminders to consider over the next twelve weeks.
Be patient! This is one of your weakest character traits that is already being tested. Don’t get angry or frustrated, but find the willingness to endure. You cannot control everything. Please try to embrace the hiccups and go with it.
Breathe. It is a given to breathe with every step you climb up and every step back down. What I mean is, don’t forget to breathe through the experience. It will be over in the blink of eye, so enjoy each inhale and exhale.
Smile, even if it’s just an optical illusion! This is effortless for you, but remember to smile when shit get’s tough, as you know it will. Smile because it lights up a room and those around you.
Forgive. Forgive yourself for last year. That sounds silly, I realize, but forgive yourself for everything that went wrong last year. Forgive yourself for having the emotions you have or the thoughts that continue to rattle through your brain. Forgiveness is the key to moving forward. It doesn’t mean you forget, it just means you have found a place in your mind to take a step forward.
It’s not a race! Put your competitive nature to bed for a bit okay? You don’t always have to be the fastest, the first, or the best. Just be you. Whatever you feel to be your maximum potential for the day is enough. Accept each day as it comes to you and stop feeling the need to prove that you are #1. The goal isn’t to be better than anyone else but to be better than you used to be.
Climb for you and you alone. Remember why you sacrificed so much for this dream. Remember why you put so much sweat and tears into this expedition. Remember that you are out there climbing for you. You have nothing to prove to the world, only what you want to prove to yourself.
Enjoy the ride! This is the year you summit Mt. Everest which means you may not be back to that sacred place for quite sometime. Relish in this unique experience that most will never have the opportunity to live.
NO pull-up contests this year! Don’t be a child, it’s not worth it.
Sing. I know you honestly believe you are Whitney Houston’s former backup singer, and quite frankly I agree. Your body and soul comes alive when a good Britney song creeps into your ear…share the embarrassing energy.
Try to not count ALL of your steps. I empathize with you that this is soothing, but please, for your own sanity, DON’T COUNT ALL OF YOUR STEPS!
Be a sponge. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times and be observant. Learn about the culture, the people, the smells, the food, your teammates, the mountain, and the sport. Learn from those around you because they each are an expert of something.
Don’t judge. Reject the bad habit of judging others, experiences, and yourself.
Don’t kill your brother. Mom and Nicole would be pissed.
Expect doubt and pain. There will come a time that you will, without a doubt, want to quit. You will lose your faith. Don’t listen to the skepticism and discomfort. Listen to your heart, smile, laugh, and keep moving.
You’re not alone. You have never been alone on this journey, even though sometimes it feels that way. If you start to feel that way, pause, take a deep breath, and look up at the stars. You’re not alone.
Lean on the mountain and let her lean on you. There has been so much pain and devastation from last year that you are still processing. Remember that the mountain has even more tragedy and misery. Don’t be afraid to lean on her when you need her the most because when you do, she will be pushing you back up.
Change is a brilliant thing, embrace it. You’ve battled with the reality that this journey will not be the same as last year. THAT’S A GOOD THING! Last year didn’t work out because it wasn’t meant to. This is a new year and a new journey. There will be different characters in your story that will bring a different energy and dynamic to the group. Don’t be afraid to open up to this new story you are living, for it might just be the greatest story of your life.
Write. Don’t be afraid to go inside yourself and share the quest you’re on. In saying that, don’t write for the blog. Don’t write for those following you. Write for yourself. This is your story and I promise you won’t want to forget one minute of it.
Stay away from the yak cheese.
Accept and embrace being uncomfortable on some level.
Call home. You know the family is a wreck, no matter how brave of a face they put on.
Wash your hands. In the wise words of Dr. Paul Pottinger, “The world is covered in feces, the question is, how deep?”. Yuck.
Second chances are a gift. I know you’re frustrated you have to return this year to finish what you started last year. That’s okay. What’s important is that you acknowledge you have a second chance to do it better. Not everyone get’s that opportunity.
Believe that God and the Universe have a plan and it will all workout the way it was always meant to.
Be here now.
A friend once told me – Dreams are not always fulfilled on their first attempt. It’s the passion, obsession and continued pursuit that makes the accomplishment more fruitful in the end.
Touch the sky my dear friend.