Monday, October 13, 2008

What is my Mount Everest?

I've already talked about my favorite line in "Oh the places you'll" go by Dr. Suess. Its, "your mountain is waiting."

Recently ran across a really similar thought in one of the best blog posts I have ever read...its called "How to be creative" on gapingvoid.

We're going to spend a few days on this rich and illuminating set of personal philosophies (are they finally in that mythical sweet spot?)

Catch this:

You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don't make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow-line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.This metaphorical Mount Everest doesn't have to manifest itself as "Art". For some people, yes, it might be a novel or a painting. But Art is just one path up the mountain, one of many. With others the path may be something more prosaic. Making a million dollars, raising a family, owning the most Burger King franchises in the Tri-State area, building some crazy oversized model airplane, the list has no end.

Whatever. Let's talk about you now. Your mountain. Your private Mount Everest. Yes, that one. Exactly.

Let's say you never climb it. Do you have a problem with that? Can you just say to yourself, "Never mind, I never really wanted it anyway" and take up stamp collecting instead?

Well, you could try. But I wouldn't believe you. I think it's not OK for you never to try to climb it. And I think you agree with me. Otherwise you wouldn't have read this far.

So it looks like you're going to have to climb the frickin' mountain. Deal with it.

My advice? You don't need my advice. You really don't. The biggest piece of advice I could give anyone would be this:

"Admit that your own private Mount Everest exists. That is half the battle."

And you've already done that. You really have. Otherwise, again, you wouldn't have read this far.

Rock on.

So what is my Mount Everest? Is it the book? No, don't think so. My private Mount Everest is really, really private. Its about altering the soundtrack of my life.

  • I wake up in the morning, and my mind is preparing for the day, looking at every single thing with dread or anxiety.
  • I meet a woman, have a nice time with her. She wants more, I'm not ready. I torment myself with fears that I am going to let her down or I have to keep her happy.
  • In times when I should be feeling good, I'm too often pre-occupied with things that make me feel bad...not all the time, but much of the time.

Fixing this is my Mount Everest. I'm 44, and I'm as independent as I have ever been. My happiness is less dependent on other people than it ever has been and ever will be. But I have to accept it, because right now, I am just choosing new people to control my happiness, and these are people with no commitment to me. At least with my ex-wife, we were married.

So, step one. This private Mount Everest exists. Climbing to the top will require the trip of a lifetime. And I'm going to take the first step right now.

When I am at the top of Mount Everest I will:

  • Take care of myself along with other people.
  • Stop letting other people determine my happiness.
  • Start letting myself feel good.
  • Stop dreading the hurdles. Take them in stride.
  • Worry about things in their time, and no other time.
  • Take action to close loops, create peace. If you avoid it, it owns you
  • Not necessarily in that order.
These may sound stupid. I mean, its not a novel or a screenplay.

But, it is so tall I can hardly imagine it being taller. It is literally the highest and most difficult thing I can imagine in my life. This habits are so ingrained, and I have tried to climb this mountain before, though I didn't know that's what it was at the time. And I didn't get to the first base camp before I came tumbling down again, or I ran out of oxygen, or whatever metaphor you want.

But let's be clear...I ran back down the mountain when it got a little steep and my focus wandered.

That's part of climbing a mountain. You gotta expect it to be steep. And you gotta climb everyday for a long time to get to the top.

So that's it. Today is the day I start my climb to the top of my own, private Mount Everest. Next, I will prioritize the first steps...what I need to do to get to the first base camp.

No comments: