Engaged with other mountain enthusiasts, I can honestly say that this was the year that tested my strength, expanded my perspectives, and deepened my appreciation for life and for the Philippine’s hidden beauty. I remember being asked by a friend what my realizations were after a recent hike. It dawned on me that I just started climbing mountains this year, and that it all started by having a bucket list. In that bucket list, I wanted to push myself to climb one mountain– but I ended up conquering more.
Each climb has a different story to tell, and this is what pushes me to climb more. If I stayed inside my comfort zone, I would never have seen the wonders of the mountains. I would never have met the new friends I have now. I would have never recognized my nomad potential.
So to answer my friend’s question, I share these realizations:
1) The mountain is the place that knows no one
What do I mean? The scoreboard of conquering a mountain is not based on our social status, our backgrounds, the size of our bank accounts or our career ambitions. Too often, the benchmark of a successful life is measured in terms of economic wealth or educational level. Today, most people strive for professional accomplishment and satisfaction. However, conquering mountain challenges is never about where you came from or who you are. It is in the mountain that success is based on one’s motivation, endurance, determination and passion.
2) If you don’t know where you’re going, just keep going. The road will take you where you are supposed to be.
Apparently, in climbing mountains, there are different trails you can take and you can even create your own. Yet, doing that may lead to exhaustion, being lost and worst, accidents. Thus, each trekker, as much as possible, must follow the common trail as a guide to the peak.
Sometimes, in life, we get so caught up and focused on one trail: the trail to success. Success in terms of stable career, income, or social status. Pressured by the outside world, we tend to find ways to go faster along that path.
In return, the trail to success can drain us and sometimes makes us lose the most valuable things in life. Consider what’s most important to you- what will give you joy? What will give you a sense of personal fulfillment or a sense of satisfaction? Consider these things before deciding what road to take. Don’t waste your energy and time trying to accomplish something, without first considering why you are even pursuing it in the first place.
3) New pursuits introduce new struggles
In conquering a mountain, it’s not only about physical struggles. It also involves some sort of emotion battle, wherein you have all these negative thoughts running around your mind. Thoughts that you can’t do it, that you’re the weakest link in the group, that the trail would be too difficult and you’d end up quitting along the way.
The thing is, with the pursuit of new things, new struggles come in. This is just how life is. Yet, what matters is not the number of struggles you face but your response to these struggles. Remember, the path to constant growth and progress almost always involves facing difficulties. The choice of how you look at these difficulties is always up to you. Do you want to grow or not? We succeed in life by defeating our excuses. Don’t make excuses for why you can’t get it done and focus on all the reasons why you must make it happen. As you persevere to conquer each challenge, trust that your character is developed.
As Romans 5:3-5 says, “Rejoice in your suffering, know that sufferings produce perseverance, perseverance produces character and character we find hope, a hope that does not fail”.