On the morning of the Incline, the fear started to creep in. What if I couldn’t make it to the top? What if I started having medical problems on the way up to the top and no one was near me? Anxiousness flooded over me and was ready to get this done and over with.
In Manitou Springs, Colorado, there is a mile-long mountain called the Manitou Incline. Higher than the Empire State Building, there are 2700 steps that it will take you to get all the way to the top. That, of course, if you make it. If you can’t make it all the way to the top, there is a trail that is 4 miles long that you can opt to hike it (or go back to the bottom of the mountain).
That morning, my husband decided to reenlist in the Army at the top. He and 20 other soldiers climbed the mountain what seemed effortless.
Thought I was going to die. 600 steps in, I had a mental breakdown. Crying hysterically, because my body was not used to being pushed so hard. 900 steps in, the shortness of breath started to linger in. 1200 steps, I knew I wasn’t going to make it to Bryan’s reenlistment at the top. I looked up and he was nowhere to be seen. So what was the point? Here is what changed.
My body didn’t want to go any farther. Every time I would breathe, my chest would progressively start physically hurting more and more. It was at that moment I realized, I wasn’t climbing the mountain for my husband to make it to the top to see his reenlistment. At that point, I’m climbing this mountain for myself. To prove to myself that I could do it. One way or another. But could I?
At 1500 steps, I opted to push forward those 200 steps until I could make it to the trail. As soon as I hit 1700 steps, I sat down on the bench.
“Imagine what are people going to think! You couldn’t make it to the top of the Incline or the mountain. You suck.” My inner mean girl ridiculed me.
“But what if I did climb the mountain, and took the road less traveled” I questioned myself. From that moment, I took one step after another and hiked the trail all the way to the top.
Similar to a runner’s high, I experienced this state of euphoria. This overwhelming excitement and drive to make it to the top of the mountain, no matter how long it took. The shortness of breath never went away. In fact, since there was not as much air towards the top, it progressively got harder to breathe. But as the air got thinner and thinner as I walked up the mountain, I came to 3 realizations that I will remember the rest of my life.
God, I wish I knew this growing up and wish more people opened up their eyes to this.
Everyone has their own path in life. Just because you aren’t following the path the way your friends and family expect you to doesn’t mean you are not going in the direction you are supposed to be going. Of course, you are going to make your fair share of mistakes, but you learn from it in the long haul one way or another.
The fear of being judged aka your inner mean girl.
Here is a hard pill to swallow but I hope it resonates. Ready? Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business. Why does it matter what your Aunt Susie or coworker thinks of you? It doesn’t.
Instead of having fear of what others might think of you, what if you stepped into your own power and started being more like yourself? I know you are a pretty cool person, you should be more like you more often.
Life can be hard. I totally get that. But you have the capability to do ANYTHING. Want to be the first in your family to get a degree? You can do it. Want to start your own business so that you can create a life where you are with your family more? You can do it. Want to be a millionaire? You can do it!
You have all of the resources you need to do whatever you want to do in life. The biggest thing is truly believing in yourself that you are actually capable of it and being resourceful.
There was this overwhelming sense of gratitude. A new sense of appreciation for my body that I’ve never experienced. My body had pushed itself harder than it ever had before.
I thanked my heavenly father for giving me this abundant life that I sometimes take for granted. But most importantly, I prayed…
I prayed for many things. But as silly as it sounds, I prayed that someday when I wrote this blog post, that someone would be affected by my words and realized what a wonderful person they actually are and they would stop being so hard on themselves. I prayed that someone could take the life lessons I learned and applied them to their life.