These last few weeks have been a whirlwind, and I've been recovering the last few days by sleeping a shit ton and staying mostly off of social media. Something I kinda blew right past in the midst of everything, though, is the 3-year anniversary of my business. I started this thing on November 4th, 2015, and some of you have been reading my little rants every single week since (minus that little hiatus I took in 2017). Wow. Thank you for that.
I've drafted this newsletter a few times, and it usually takes the form of some kind of metaphor (shocker) emphasizing the winding paths and growth-filled challenges I've encountered along this journey. How nothing really went according to plan, everything took longer, but turned out better. I think we kinda know that that's how these things go by now though, don't we? That there's really no "arriving," and there's no map, but you simply see the path ahead of you and go.
You bring all the resources you've got and hope for the best. You question yourself. A lot. You consider turning back, but you're in too deep. You can't see the top, and wonder if it's even there. You lose the path, but make your own way til you find it again. You occasionally encounter someone who has finished the climb, and they tell you where the path gets narrow, or harder to see; they encourage you to keep going. You keep an eye out for trail markers, because sometimes what looks like the path is another dead end, or worse.
You often pause for breath, to feel your heart beating, to remember you're okay. You take in your surroundings, and begin to forget about the top. Sometimes, you're just hiking. You notice the way the light hits the trees; you stop to hear the silence of the jungle. You're struck with a distant memory: seeing a moss-covered rock and being transported to childhood, catching salamanders in the woods with Grandpa. You wonder why you waited so long to do this, and then remember how you weren't quite ready before.
You take a sip of water, remembering to nourish yourself, the vehicle that keeps you going. You keep your breath steady, and relish the sweat pouring off your body - a symbol of your hard work.
You might not have the right shoes or gear but you're doing it anyway. You think of all the excuses you could have found to not even begin; you think about how you could be lounging by the pool, or tapping on your laptop, but here you are, in the f*ckin jungle.
When you think you can do it faster than most, you lose your way and end up slower. Sometimes you feel really small, on the side of this mountain; sometimes you feel really big, on the side of this mountain!
When you get tired, you slow down. When you see sky above the canopy, you speed up. You step carefully, knowing that one bad slip could really ruin the whole thing. Sometimes you step on a wobbly rock, but quickly jump to a stable one. Phew. Sometimes you need to take a scary leap for stable ground. You forget about getting dirty and use your hands - your whole body - where things get hairy.
You look at your phone halfway in - no service. You're on your own. You feel your muscles - your breath - and you recall all the exercise, the hard work you've put in to unknowingly prepare yourself for this climb. You realize you belong on this mountain, with all the others you consider badass for climbing it. You know the top is there, and you'll get there eventually, as long as you keep going...
Have I reached the "top"? No. Metaphors aside, I'm not really sure that there is a top, but we strive for one anyway - it's what keeps us going. I think there's a lot of false summits; there's always further to go, new adventures ahead. But there are surely some beautiful vistas along the way, places to stop and celebrate how far we've come.
Thanks for being here with me.
p.s. the majority of this content is actually from this thing I wrote (or, recorded in my voice memo app) while hiking a volcano in St Kitt's almost 2 years ago. I was struck by the amount of metaphors there are in climbing a mountain, and it seemed like it was finally time to share it...