April 28, 2011

Whoever made up the phrase “it’s all downhill from here” must not have been afraid of heights.

I am not paralyzingly afraid of heights, but I have an extra touch of caution, especially when going downhill. My feet must touch every rock to make sure it won’t wobble, so for me, going downhill requires a lot of thinking, patience, and not walking close to the edge. Do you see me in the photo?

I learned a lot walking down Ben Nevis, the tallest peak in the UK. Don’t worry: it zigzags up and down, so I didn’t do any serious rock climbing. It did take 10 hours, however, and in many ways, I considered this task more difficult than the marathon I completed years ago.

Lessons Learned:
1. It’s good to practice before you go. All of that time running and doing squats was so worth it. I could have been injured otherwise. My legs did hurt for a few days, but I was running again only three days after the hike.

2. Go at your own pace. I spent most of my 20s learning my pace, learning what I like, and living as balanced as I can (I’m still figuring that out and probably will be forever). I’m convinced there’s a pace in nature that our mobile phones don’t often allow us.

3. Don’t think too far ahead. I couldn’t think about every rock on the mountain at once, but had to take them one at the time. I get the most fearful in life when I start thinking more than the next year or two. When I start thinking, “What about five years from now?” I get anxious. Will I accomplish all I want? Will I have enough money? I believe it’s great to have goals, but they should be balanced with a healthy appreciation that there’s really no way to know what tomorrow will bring, so there’s no sense worrying about it today!

4. Joy is unexpectedly in the journey. There were three icy patches at the top of the mountain. Walking up them was tough, walking down even tougher. I’m so glad I let my friend Lisa convince me to slide down one of these patches on my bum (only after looking at her like she was crazy!). Unexpected joys have got to be some of the best, especially when you’re doing something that is demanding.

One of the gifts of spring is in my front garden:

The last time I looked at my garden was probably three weeks ago! Unbelievable. I did nothing to deserve such beauty and diversity of colour, but I am so glad I paused today to take it in.

It’s natural to want to go faster downhill, but I am glad to be a bit slower.


2 Responses to “downhill”

  1. barbarahazelwood said

    Great post, Nicole! Good things to think about and beautiful colors to contemplate. 🙂

  2. Charity said

    Enjoyed the trip down with you : )
    Glad you are still committed to keeping your OWN pace. That is a talent so few strive to accomplish in life!

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