Climb every mountain
Making the decision to try something new is the hardest part of change.
When you’re in the moment of doing the new thing, you’re in the process of strategizing and navigating, but the moment before that, the moment you make the decision, to me is the hardest part.
I had never climbed a mountain before and the idea of it seemed scary. And I am also a good 12 – 20 years older than the people I was travelling with. I didn’t know what it would be like. I didn’t know if I could do it. But I realized that I might only be in Banff once in my life and as time passes climbing a mountain wouldn’t get any easier. I am working on saying yes to new adventures, and so I said yes. And off to the top of the mountain we went.
Climbing the mountain wasn’t actually scary. It was hard. It was exhausting. As we climbed higher, there were times I couldn’t catch my breath. I gave myself a pep talk about three quarters of the way up. And actual, out loud pep talk (“You can do it Amy! You can climb this mountain!”). I didn’t care who heard me and I needed the encouragement.
When I got to the top, after I caught my breath, I felt exhilarated and proud. I climbed a mountain. I climbed a MOUNTAIN. I spun in circles at the top to see the amazing views from every angle. Endorphins were coursing through my body. I was on top of the world!
Feeling proud of myself was an added bonus. Maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s a Canadian thing, but I don’t feel comfortable sitting in pride. I don’t want to be arrogant or full of myself, so I – like many others – slough off my accomplishments and make them seem like no big deal so as not to seem boastful. But this time, I couldn’t. I was proud. Proud that I made it up the mountain. Proud that I found my own pace. Proud that I pushed myself past perceived physical limits. Most of all, I was proud that I made the decision to try something new and unknown.
This experience has provoked some thoughts around my fears. There are things I want – or want to try – in life. I want to live in Europe. I want to write a cookbook. I want to open a bakery. When I think through these possibilities, I can see myself doing them. I know that I can figure it out once I am in the moment, but getting to that moment…getting past the fear of the unknown, the known, and destitute financial failure coupled with potential humiliation…that’s the tricky part.
Because I believe that every experience I have had prepares me for what’s to come, I have to draw on my experience to guide me through tough decisions. My experience tells me to practice. So, I try to practice deciding to do new things every day. Saying yes. And it doesn’t have to be big decisions. Start in the kitchen. Start with a bowl. This website is a new thing. I had no idea if anyone would read my posts. And I started writing recipes. Practice. Start somewhere. With each new hurdle confidence grows and fear becomes manageable. Decide to try a new food, or a new way of cooking. Ignore the recipe book and make it up in your head. The kitchen is a good place to practice because the stakes are relatively low. Even if you screw up, what you make is likely still edible. And so what if you make a mess if your kitchen. Cleaning is good for the soul.
Every time you practice doing something new you learn – even if it didn’t go as planned. And if you focus on having tried something new, rather than just the results, you can feel proud. And you should feel proud. We should all feel proud more often because feeling proud is awesome, and it only took climbing to 8041 feet to figure it out.
So, in the spirit of pride, here are things I am proud of!