Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Don't Be in Such a Hurry to Climb Your Mountain

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The first and only mountain I've climbed so far was Mount Pulag. Many said I should have started with a lesser challenging mountain like Mount Pinatubo but I never chose which one should be my first - there was an opportunity so I grabbed it.

My way to the top was fast because I wanted to catch up with the rest of the group. I never really made much effort to stop for awhile and look at the scenery. There was a schedule to maintain and regardless of the fact that I was so damn tired, sweaty, and thirsty... I had to move on so that the entire group can make it on time. Having to climb with a group also adds some form of motivation on me because I dare not become the weakest link.

The path was toxic, but I endured! Especially during part two of the climb - an early morning trek towards the top trying to make it before sunrise. Suffering from the extreme cold, it was the very first time I felt my body shaking and my teeth quivering relentlessly. The pitch black darkness added more worries as we were only guided by flashlights while following a narrow path.

Even though it really took a lot out of me, I was fortunate enough to have made it in one piece without any injury. I thought I would suffer because I was just wearing ordinary rubber shoes and not the recommended mountain-climbing gear.

My reward was the sight at the top - a sea of clouds! It was heavenly! I've forgotten about the pain on my weary legs especially when the sun broke out from the clouds. OMG, I am blessed to have witnessed this wonder of nature!

Going down was easy. Even though I was the last one to get back to the camp, that was only because, I'm proud to say, that I purposely took my time. I enjoyed the hours I spent to admire the view. I never really made an effort to catch up because this was my only chance to make up for the lost opportunity to take photos of the mountain tops and to appreciate the combination of warm sun and cool breeze.

I was not worried if they leave me. I know the path going back home already. With the extreme cold gone, and the sun clearly showing me the way, I can find my way back to the camp on my own.

Looking back at my life, I could relate it to my climb at Mount Pulag. My success was somehow quick as well. There were far more better individuals out there that are more experienced and have better credentials but I was lucky enough to have been given the right break - meeting the right people at the right time and place.

But I would like to believe it was because I had the boldness to believe in myself and was not afraid to fail for trying.

However, I did not fully enjoy the time I spent to reach those goals. I was too burdened with trying to equal or overtake my colleagues. Peer pressure taught me to use more than just my intellect. I needed to be cunning and a bit selfish. I was more concerned about reaching the top by accomplishing as many tasks possible - most of the time sacrificing quality including my time with the family. What I failed to do was to nurture a relationship with my loved ones and the people I worked with - just because I was in a hurry to climb the top.

I was so eager to get to the highest peak that I dealt with people as less time possible. I studied hard, played so little, married fast, bought plenty, ate heavily, traveled regulalrly, worked my way to the top of the corporate ladder, and did everything as if it was my last day on Earth! I thought I would be able to declare myself a success when I finally get to the top.

Unlike Mount Pulag, my time at the top was lonely....and so I went back search of myself.

I've learned that success is best enjoyed if I made efforts to celebrate it with my peers, and more fun if I was able to reach the top with others at my side. To see their faces overjoyed with the view.

So now, it feels like I'm intentionally trying to stay down and this time taking it easy and enjoying every second of it. I am trying to fill the gap with experiences that I missed while seriously working on my education and career.

However, it seems I am again sacrificing the welfare of others just because I wanted to make up for the lost opportunities in my life. In my mind, there are voices telling me that this is no longer the right time to relive my lost youth. I now have my own family that I should immediately take responsibility. Stop with this madness! I have new priorities that deserves more of my time.

Climbing Mount Everest or any other mountain higher than Mount Pulag should wait its turn until I've fully provided for my family's needs. I should not even worry about it anymore. I have nothing more to prove but become a good provider for my family. If ever I won't get anymore chance to gain another adventure, then let it be.

It is true that regrets do come at a certain stage in our lives. There is no one spared of this reality. Life could never really be perfect for everyone. We simply have to bear in mind that life could only be satisfactory and fulfilling if we only count our blessings and think of our lost opportunities as lessons learned.

We may not be able to correct our past mistakes, and we may have very few chances to continue on with a life we once dreamed of. Regardless that we are now armed with the knowledge gained from our failures, we may not be able to accomplish anymore our wishes because we now have a bigger responsibility.

However,  this time we could make it happen for the ones we love. It is the time when we shape the dreams of our children and help them live a life more appealing. Let our wisdom guide them towards a more fruitful future. I promise you that seeing them succeed in their own endeavors will be more rewarding than climbing the highest mountain in the world!

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