Climbing Mountains

*Not Relevant to Actual Mountain Climbers

Life is all about ups and downs, but no one really talks about the plateaus. After the holidays, returning to any sort of mundane routine certainly feels like a plateau. There’s no crises to solve (thankfully), but there’s not much exciting going on either, it’s just…flat.

Even when life feels flat, there’s a real benefit to these periods of your life. You can take time to appreciate everything you’ve accomplished when you’re on top of this metaphorical mesa, but for me, I looked out and saw all the shortcuts I took. To say the circumstances of my life are fortunate would be an understatement. What I climbed to reach this plateau feels more like a set of hills, but now all of my major goals that lie before me are looking like mountains. I don’t really know how to climb these mountains, but I’m in the process of figuring it out, so here’s some vague advice following the logic established in my strange metaphor!

1) Check Your Equipment

If mountains are goals, then your equipment would be your skills you rely on. You need to make sure you don’t have a rusty pickaxe or a frayed rope, meaning any skill that needs to support you should be in its prime condition. You’re putting all your weight on your ability to draw or how well you play an instrument, make sure you’re consistently nailing the fundamentals so you can dig in over and over to climb. Equipment is a broad term that isn’t only referring to the one skill you’re passionate about; you wouldn’t think about climbing a mountain without a warm coat. Spend some time preparing everything you need to succeed, including all the parts necessary for taking care of yourself along the way. Don’t climb the mountain if you don’t have the supplies to get you to the peak.

2) Check The Weather

Ever see a movie about climbing a mountain and the climbers think they’re in the middle of a peaceful ascent when SUDDENLY THE DARK CLOUDS ARE ROLLING IN AND THE BIGGEST BLIZZARD EVER SEEN STRIKES OUR HEROES? Weather forecasting isn’t perfect, but I’m pretty sure a radar could pick up an apocalyptic storm at least a week in advance. Weather, in this case, mostly refers to unfavorable conditions, like big life events that drain your time and money. Make sure it’s not going to snow on your first day of climbing and look out for what’s coming over the horizon. If you start smart, you can actually get a strong foothold before any lousy weather tries to knock you off the mountain.

3) Build A Base Camp

It’s never a good idea to climb a mountain alone. You’ll want people who can support you and can surround you with love and caring before you even begin the climb. Put up a tent and fill it with your friends and family who know what you’re about to do and know how hard it will be for you. Try to find some seasoned climbers and chat with them before you even set foot on the mountain. When you fall (very likely not to be an “if”), you want a team ready to care for you at the bottom of the mountain. That way, you can get back to climbing quicker.

Mountains are big and scary — some are goals spanning a few months or years, others are lifelong endeavors. Plenty of you are already on your own mountains and already climbed a few to get here, but try to find the time to double check what I mentioned here. Life is pretty unpredictable, take control of what you can!

(No stock photos of mountain climbers or plateaus? How will anyone understand this??)

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