At the beginning of the summer, I wanted a physical goal. I had been working out at the gym for several months, and I asked myself, “What use is working out if I don’t do something with it? Is there something more to do, other than being fit?”
While in Texas, I loved trail riding every weekend. The fresh air and trees calmed me. I wanted to do something similar like bike riding. So, the physical activity that I first thought of was hiking. That idea stuck. I wanted to summit some mountains again because it had been a couple years since I climbed one. Being on top of a mountain is euphoric because I can gain a sense of accomplishment from doing something hard. I finally settled on summitting three mountains at the end of summer. That seemed like something I could push myself towards. Plus, I could see views from three mountain summits and gain a perspective from each one.
Summitting three mountains seemed like a great physical goal, but which mountains would I summit? How would I train to hike these mountains? I could go on easy hikes, but then go on progressively harder hikes every week. The AllTrails mobile application appeared, and I searched it for hikes to go on. It surprised me how many hikes there were in Utah! During the times I had visited Utah, I rarely went out on hikes, and I’d make up for it now!
During this time, I was studying what it meant to experience life. This involved reading and listening to a variety of sources: like TED talks, church talks, US president talks, scriptures, and audiobooks. I’ve learned that life has so many things that can be experienced, it just depends on if one wants to have those experiences and look for them.
After hiking two mountains, I had a thought: life is to be experienced, even the discomfort. The sights of mountain lakes and summits flooded my memory. Seeing those sights requires some level of pain, just because that’s the way things work in life; the part I have control over is how I use that pain. Did I use that pain to keep going forward? I sure did. The strain of walking upwards for hours and then weak shuddering knees going downhill reminded me of how human I am. But because I realized of how human I was, I kept going forward to experience the height of the mountain.
We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things (accomplishments and aspirations), not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”
President John F. Kennedy
The previous quote was said in reference to the space race. NASA accomplished great technological advancements with the resources they had at the time. Man made it to the moon. This video explains how the Saturn V rocket was steered. Pay attention to how the computer modules were made. This accomplishment came with its share of difficulties: poor calculations, cockpit fires, and oxygen tank failures plagued the early space missions. Despite these setbacks, NASA still engineered solutions and made it to the moon.
I am led to believe that anything worth achieving in life will require some level of difficulty and hardship, because that’s just how things work in life. Challenges are bound to happen, similar to what Christopher Nolan’s film Interstellar teaches about an extrapolated interpretation of Murphy’s law. Cooper in the movie said “Anything that can happen will happen”. This is to say that if something has the possibility of happening, it will happen in one form or another. For example, Interstellar’s protagonists set out on their mission to help save humanity. Their mission came with several challenges. Likewise when NASA flew to the moon, challenges did happen because they can happen. There’s simply no avoiding it a challenge.
Did I appreciate hiking to the tops of mountains? Definitely. I even appreciated the pain that came with it, because I was able to push myself to accomplish something I hadn’t done for a while. The physical pain reminded me that in order to reach great heights, one must be willing to accept the challenges along the way.
So will there be pain and or challenges with experiences? I believe so. I’d like to experience life, and I should expect challenges to come. I hope those challenges won’t daunt me, and I’ll try my best to face them. When challenges and accomplishments are finished, I can enjoy the experience of having done something hard, and I can be better prepared for the next hard thing to do.