One day, I decided that I wanted/needed/had to get to the top of Mt. Rainier in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
To be honest, I am not really sure why.
I had a few friends that had done this before and was inspired to really challenge myself with an extremely physical feat. I simply made up my mind that it was a goal I needed to accomplish. While I am not a hard-core mountain climber, I do love the outdoors and something deep inside of me was screaming, “Climb this mountain!”
Starting the next day, and for seven months thereafter, I trained to accomplish this singular goal. I read books about it. I got out of bed absurdly early. I went to the gym regularly for the first time in my life, ran my ass off, finally got back to yoga, and got regular massages. This incredible investment of energy was all to be certain that I would be in the best shape possible to accomplish this task. I even eventually stopped drinking alcohol for four months to further my focus (and I am a fairly social guy working in advertising in New York City).
I woke up in the morning and I thought about this mountain. I went to bed at night thinking about this mountain. I dreamed about it in my sleep. I drew a giant picture of Mt. Rainier and put it on my wall. To say I was obsessed with this goal would be a dramatic understatement. This mountain needed to be climbed and I envisioned myself standing on the top!
But, after months and months of all of this hard work, in the end I would not be getting to the top of Mt. Rainier. I would not stand in all of my glory at the highest point on the mountaintop, basking in the glow of my accomplishment in the morning sunlight. I would get so, so close, but it just wouldn’t be in the cards for me on that day. All of those hours of training, the huge financial investment, and the mental preparation and commitment would seemingly bear no fruit. Or would it?
It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey—an adage that has been told time and time again, in many ways, shapes and forms. These days, many think it is nothing more than a cliché. I beg to differ, and I definitely learned the truth of its meaning during those five days on the mountain.
My intent was to document my triumphant summit of the most glaciated peak in the lower 48 states. What I came back with was a video of a beautiful lesson that I learned firsthand; one that I can share with my friends, family and the world. I am very grateful that everything happened exactly as it did and personally gained much more from the experience through not accomplishing my goal.
I hope you enjoy!
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Photo: courtesy of the author
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