Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ain't Life Weird

Life has a way of weirding you out, doesn't it?

One minute you are on the path to the summit, wind in your hair, a country flag to stake with pride, and a vow never to quit upon your lips, and the next, an intimate knowledge of rocks and nature’s cruel realities force you to hurdle and jump to gain the smallest ground.

To every noble stride, there are steep grades to scale, and scrub brush to pick out of aching flesh. No matter where you go, there will always be rain and the diagonal grade of a mountain which becomes a slippery slope. (Cue the early Columbia scene from Romancing the Stone.)

“Ooh, what a ride!”

What goes up must come down or vice versa, right? Isn’t that Darwin’s Theory? There will always be hurdles to jump and whistles to answer. Life is filled with Plain Jane rules, but it is more often than not a master of disguise and a mischievous villain contorting the hands of fate. Just when we think we’ve learned all we can, the way to our prize, destiny, is abraded by an unseen hand. What do we do? Scatter? Curl into a ball and pray? Or do we strap on a harness and repel down the mountain to safety?

The choices we make are the difference between succeeding and failing. Settling for normal has killed a great many gifted souls. Without a mountain to climb, there can be no appreciation of a beauteous summit. Without scrapping a knee or bloodying an elbow, nothing in life is worth the trouble.

I often ask myself why mountaineers scale Mt. Everest, Mt. McKinley and all the historic peaks of the earth. What draws climbers? What lures them to face challenges that kill and maim? Is it being able to say, “Only the favored few have or will ever make it to the top?” Or is it the struggle, the guts and brawn needed to make it there, which appeals to us the most? Does the prize mean as much when dues haven’t been paid? What happens when we make it to the top but are afraid of the heights?

Fighting for what you want will always take your breath. No matter the hurdle, whether that be starting a new job, bringing a child into the world, fighting for freedom at home and abroad, grieving death, the loss of a job, separation from family, there will always be a valley on the other side of the mountain. Whatever the mountaintop, rocks, mudslides, snow, wind, rain, and thirst, cannot stall the human condition. If the ambition/drive is there, the quest for excellence can and should be achieved.

In Romance the Stone, Joan Wilder, the mousy, NYC writer, took the first step up the mountain (in Manolo’s, no less) to reach the other side and save her sister. In the process, a true hero entered her life. The way up the steep grade was not easy. Columbian drug lords, thieves, and crocodiles proved to be tremendous hurdles. But together, Joan and Jack scaled the summit, attained their heart's desire, and repelled to safety, winning an HEA. Success came at great cost to their 'normal', but they discovered more about themselves than they thought possible during the climb.

Are you like Joan, stepping out of your comfort zone and risking it all? Or are you like Jack, hiding from destiny only to be called out of the jungle by fate?

What mountain rises before you? Share your stories with us under the Tulip Tree today.


  1. I usually think that I am one to stay firmly in my comfort zone but recently it has been pointed out to me that in the last few years I have taken more risks than I did in the previous century.

    I am not really sure what this means perhaps that the "worse case scenerios" for risks seems more acceptable (or at least less scary) to the middle-aged me.

  2. Liken this side of yourself to being one step closer to adventurous, Stephanie! ;)

    You've hurdled a lot of obstacles in the past few years getting your Master's Degree. I'm proud of you for what you've accomplished.

    What did you learn along the way about yourself?

  3. Mt. Everest has about 200 dead bodies on it. Climbers pass them on the way up. I think I would just have to say, "That doesn't have to be me."

    This is figurative, of course. If I actually saw a dead body anywhere but in a casket at a funeral--and I'm not too fond of that--I'd run screaming.

  4. LMAO! Though it is a metaphor, the idea is to find exhileration in the climb, Jean. Like Miley Cyrus's song, The Climb.

    I've been going through some rough patches lately. There's been a lot of changes in my life. So, for me, the climb is rugged and steep right now. Children move away and end up being spread all across the US, and in deployment overseas. My mother has moved in with us and so, my hubby and I aren't finding out what it's like to enjoy an empty nest. While it is a great idea, there has been much adjustment. Plus, add in the HOD Luncheon that I'm coordinating, deadlines, contest entries to judge and a myriad of other things and the mountain just gets more angled.

    But, though I'm struggling with this new phase of my life, I know there is a green valley at the other side. ;)

  5. I have tried to pare down my life. I do not wish to climb a mountain. I figure I have earned it. However, if there is a need, I can rise to the occasion and kick anyone's butt in a heartbeat. I just don't see the need unless provoked so I guess I am like Jack.

  6. But even though Jack didn't seek to climb the mountain, he had quite an adventure, didn't he? ;)

    Thanks for commenting, Cheryl!

  7. Exactly, and I am a lot like him. Waiting for that adventure! ;)

  8. Stephanie, the mention of all those bodies on on Mt. Everest made me ponder...just think, if we don't keep moving forward...we'll either stay at the bottom or be one of the casualties on the mountain itself.

    So here's for carefully going out to seek adventure (Preferably where there is running water and bathroom facilities...just sayin')

    Great post Kathy!

  9. Loved your post as always! Right now, I guess I'm like Jack. Just trying to muddle through.