Photo credit: Team Traveller
Every day I climb a long, steep hill. Step after excruciating step, it takes sheer will to get my body to make it’s way to the top. I trudge along the sidewalk-usually behind all the kids in my PE classes, forcing myself to continue, no matter how tired I am. That hill is the hardest part of my day. Going down is not a problem, but going up is sheer torture.
The first time I had to climb the hill months ago, I wasn’t sure I’d actually make it. My lungs felt like they would burst, my legs were jelly, and in the curve of the steepest part, I stopped and almost sat down.
I don’t think I can do this. Why did I take this job? This is crazy. I’m not twenty anymore, and able to hike up the cut at Whitecliff park in 100 pounds of scuba gear. What was I thinking?
After that first run along the waterfront, I went home and promptly fell asleep. My muscles, screaming for mercy, ached for almost the entire first month as day after day I climbed the hill. I’m not really sure how I managed to function, really-the exhaustion from being outside as much as three hours a day exercising had me sound asleep on the couch at 7 pm most nights.
At first, my goal was simply to make it through a run, bringing up the rear with a fast walk. Then, it was a run and getting up the hill without stopping, which eventually changed to getting through TWO runs. I can do that, right? I can make the hill twice a day. Each time when I reach the top, I stop, close my eyes, take a deep breath, and slow my pounding heart. Each time, a sense of accomplishment washes over me.
I conquered you today, hill. Take THAT.
Life has been a lot like that hill, these days. One foot in front of the other, at times wondering if we can actually do it, but each time, slowly making our way to the top. Each time I crest that hill, there’s a smile and sense of accomplishment. Each time, it gets a little easier.
With all my focus pouring into simply making it up the hill, I hadn’t noticed that over the months my legs have become stronger. The hill is a little easier. No longer do I feel like I’m going to have to crawl to the top, but instead I can walk it without a problem. Some days, I don’t stop and breathe because that was kind of easy.
Early last week we were hit with a bomb none of us expected- after seven years, our landlord is selling our house. We’ve talked about moving to the Fraser Valley for some time, but expected it to be on our timeline, not somebody else’s. This is a hill we’ve seen before over the 20 years we’ve been together, and at times, has caused a huge amount of stress and worry. Four times in 16 years, we’ve packed up and moved because of work, and this will be move number five. At this point we are sorting out where we’ll look at houses, and applying for jobs. It could mean a complete career change for me, which after 20 years is both exhilarating, but terrifying at the same time. Each time I start to panic, I think about the hill.
One foot in front of the other. Just keep going. Remember to breathe. Focus on the top. You can DO THIS.
On a sunny Thursday as I climbed that hill for the third time that day, I finally reached the top and stopped in the parking lot, closed my eyes, took a deep breath and smiled.
This new hill isn’t going to stop me. I know how to conquer them, now.