40. An oft dreaded number. We’re so full of steam through our 20’s and 30’s and then we hit a brick wall called “40”. Or is it so?
North Americans are far too consumed with the negative connotations of aging, and its small wonder. We all too often portray age in its most negative light. “I’ve got this ailment”. “I’ve got that ailment”. “Job market is tough for an old dog”. “Im over the hill”. But it is in those defeatist statements which lays the answer.
We should be glad that we’re over the hill. It was one hell of a climb, and we’ve made it when others haven’t been so lucky. Paths were strewn with rocky outcrops; many people have tried to bar the way. Being here is a victory. Going DOWN hill is not such a bad thing, but we’ve often forgotten what the climb was all about.
We start out in life with a great many hopes and dreams. Those hopes and dreams are why we climb, why we continue to claw our way up through that talus slope. As we’ve managed to grasp a bloodied hand into an unsure hold with each accomplishment, we sometimes forget what it was all about. As we reach that summit, we forget that it was hope which drove us through the journey in the first place. We learned that life was about the Journey, not the Summit.
Do not rest on that Summit. Do not enjoy the easier climb downhill. Keep your strength at the ready. Find a new mountain to climb and celebrate that you’re now wise enough to enjoy the Journey.
Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa spent only precious moments on the crest of Mount Everest. But he treasured, endured, authored and remembered the months-long “impossible” tenacious climb.
Be Sir Edmund. Be Tenzing Norgay. And help those who climb next to you. You didn’t find your collective being, wisdom and tenacity at the Summit. It was only through that climb where you managed to find the sage that is you.
Don’t ever put your gear away. Take if off, dry it for a short while if you must, but keep climbing. If you fall, at least you go out with Old Man Power.