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Thursday, April 16, 2015

A few thoughts as I prepare to climb

Greetings.  I am sitting here thinking about the past few years that I devoted to this one singular event.  Last year, my climb got derailed by factors beyond my control.  This year, I felt as if I did everything within my control to maximize a safe, successful climb.  I trained hard, rested, ate well, and stayed healthy.  Moreover, I climbed a ton and sorted out my gear with every climb.  I sit here today thinking about the last few years and reminiscing about what I did and why I believe I am ready for the next two months.  Below are a few thoughts on that topic...

1.  Control the controllable.  Climbing and preparing the climb both take a singular focus.  Many times, however, that focus drifts to the "what ifs," "should haves," and "could haves."  Given the nature of these big mountains and the costs associated with climbing them, I decided that I would put all my efforts into controlling what I could control and leave chance alone.  

2.  Prepare for the unexpected.  As Louis Pasteur once said "chance favors the prepared mind" and I felt like I prepared by controlling every aspect of my preparation that I could control.  Preparation for climbing takes discipline and dedication.  In retrospect, I am very happy with what I was able to accomplish during those years.  I controlled what I could control and feel as if chance will favor me and my preparation.

3.  Accept adversity.  I mentioned in a previous post how that "one thing" can often set the tone for an entire day, climb, or relationship.  Adverse conditions - whether internally or externally generated - often create those moments that change the tenor or mood.  Last year, that one thing consisted of many events that added up to a nightmare for many of us.  Fortunately, the "many" were able to live past the event but my thoughts remain with those who were not so fortunate.  I decided that this year I would allow myself to accept adversity and learn from it.  More often than not, those adverse events or conditions simply show up unannounced and unprovoked.  How we deal with them shows our true character.  I must admit, I had many instances of not holding it together as the climb deteriorated last year.  This year, I return with no ill-will nor with any agenda other than to climb.  I accepted my fate from last year and moved on.  Here is to adversity!

4.  Stay focused.  There were a few times over the past two years that I wanted to rest.  I was done.  The training slowly ate away at my resolve.  Those times were quickly subdued by climbing, running, sleeping, drinking, eating, swimming, sailing, socializing or some other activity where I could reflect on my primary objective.  It would be overstating the case if I said I were constantly focused.  Training has a way of eroding that focus over time.  Now that I am done training and completely rested, I have nothing to distract me.  I stayed late at home to finish many of my projects, to guide my students through the end of their semester, and to spend more time with my family.  Now that I did all that, I can leave with a clear conscience that I did all I could do for those other things and now I get to focus solely on this climb.  

5.  Ready for a change.  I spent the last few years really focused on climbing Mt. Everest.   Now that I am close to reaching that goal - weather and conditions permitting - I feel ready to shift gears for a little bit and embrace a little change.  Perhaps I might train for another climb, another endurance event, or just go sailing.  Regardless, I need a new objective.  Everest has been a great goal and I am really excited about the prospects of reaching that goal.  What is next?  Who knows.  First things first....climb that big hill.

Thanks for following along.  I'll have more posts shortly.  The climb starts soon.  Stay tuned....