We were climbing (crawling) towards the very steep and slippery summit of Mt. Pico De Loro when I heard two lady mountaineers behind me talking, laughing at their own craziness,of even trying this not so safe climb.
“Ba’t ba natin ginagawa to?” (Why are we even doing this?) said the nervous girl.
“Dapat nanahimik nalang tayo sa bahay at naglinis. Hahaha!” (We should have stayed home and cleaned the house. LOL!) Said the chill, funny girl.
Then they both told one another, “pero andito tayo!” (But we’re here!)
It would be fun to eavesdrop more of their conversation, but that was not the perfect time. I had to focus on my own climb, because one wrong step could lead to an unpleasant incident.
I later transferred, crawled my way to the left side of the mountain with less climbers. Then armed with fierce determination, I lifted my heavy butt towards the summit.
When I was finally there, I had a clear view of what the other climbers have been going through. Then I asked myself the same question, why am I doing this?
Why are you doing this? What are you getting from all of this?
I know for sure that all mountaineers have experienced the same question from your peers, family and friends. And I know you also got tired of explaining.
One wisdom I’ve learned in life as I mature is you can never understand a person until you are in exactly the same position as him. So as we try to be mum whenever a friend questions our decision in living our lives, we also know, that a fellow nature-lover and adventurer can only understand what we are getting from mountain climbing. Here are just some.
I just want to make it clear that I am no expert in mountain climbing, and I am not claiming one. I am just more reflective with my life, and with every hike I experience.
1. No matter how hard it is. Keep going
I remember my first climb in Ifugao and Mountain Province. We hiked before dawn and as we climbed higher, the air became thinner. It was so far the worst SOB of my life (shortness of breath LOL!). As I was resting alone in the middle of the jungle, I felt my legs and back aching. It was painful that I wanted to stop walking. It was definitely easier to give up, but I kept going. I kept pushing until I reached the summit.
Mountain climbing is not easy. It will test your stamina, push you to the limits, and no matter how small your next step is, keep moving and never quit. It helps that you have the right gear for hiking, but in the end the decision to persevere is all yours.
So whatever hardships you may face right now in your family life or career, you got to keep moving. I know traffic and commute in Manila can be too stressful. I know your job is squeezing every bit of you, maximizing every thing you have until you pass out and give up. But that’s just life. Nobody assured us that life would be easy.
You got to keep pushing, keep showing up. Believe that every hardship that you’re going through is preparing you to something bigger, something greater.
2. Never settle. You can do better, greater things
When I reached the top of the monolith of Pico De Loro, I was stunned. I just couldn’t believe it, that my overweight self could endure such physically straining and death defying climb to that huge rock.
But I did. You know what I told myself when I was looking at the vast beauty of nature on top? I did it, and I can do more.
And that’s true. You can do more. Whatever your circumstances in life right now, I’m telling you, you can do more.
You may be stuck in your cubicle. You may be tired of being a waiter or bartender. You may be feeling trapped in the rat race routinary life that you have, but again accept that it’s part of life, of growth. My suggestion is you keep doing your best in whatever job that you have, but never come to a point that you define yourself within the confines of your day job. Never define yourself based on your job description, beacuse you are more than that.
You can do more. Life outside your work is big enough for you to find sense and meaning.
Leave a mark. Leave a legacy in your own little way. Help and inspire others. Share your talents. Explore. You were born in this world with a purpose, go find it and live it.
3. Patience. Take your time
I remember how bad I felt when I couldn’t keep up with my fellow mountaineer friends. I am always left behind, getting tired faster and resting longer. But as I hike more, I learned to let go of that thinking, and eventually climb at my own pace. I finally let go of what others might think of me.
We all have our own shot, our own time, so I find it unnecessary to keep looking at other’s lives and even comparing with others. I know sometimes you feel envious when you saw the new facebook post of your friends. All those glitz and glamor. But you have to understand that most people on social media only post things that are going well with their lives. You’ll never know what your “successful” friends are truly going through. So why be envious? Why waste your energy looking at their lives instead of focusing on improving yourself?
Just trust the timing of your destiny.
4. Believe in yourself
Yes I know. You’re hiking with a group and you help each other. But in the middle of wilderness, there are moments that no matter how you need someone’s help, you just got to rely on yourself.
Remember that climb to the summit? When you’ve found yourself terrified of your next move, as if you’re just frozen there, feeling that the moment you move a little, the soil would loose and you’d slip.
In those moments, you couldn’t even exert more energy to shout for help, your energy is draining fast. There is just one thing to do, rely on yourself. Believe that you can do it.
And in life, it’s just simple, mountain climbing instils trust and independence in you.
5. Face your fear
I admit I have somekinda fear of heights. LOL!
I could not even imagine myself walking on narrow trails on top of the mountains. That can be terrifying for me. But hey look at me now, still scared haha! But…but I am able to handle my fear better.
Sometimes, there’s just so many things running through your mind, that something might happen, that it’s unsafe and all. When you embrace a life of adventure, you will notice some change in your own personal life.
Now, I say yes more. Yes to more challenges, projects and mountains to climb. No more holding back.
6. Discomfort is okay. Embrace it
More and more articles are being published nowadays about being a millennial, and how this group of people feel so entitled and privileged.
Well, I am a millennial and I can say I don’t belong to those feeling privileged group of people. Being raised in a simple family and educated in a State University (PUP), I can say I am doing better than others.
But here’s the thing, honestly speaking, most of us are complainers right? You complain about your job, your salary, your unpleasant boss, or your life a whole. As for me, as I started traveling and embracing a more adventurous life, I’ve noticed that I’ve become more focused on the brighter side.
I’ve made peace with myself that there are things in life that you cannot control.
For someone who gets used to the discomfort and hardwork that comes with mountain climbing, we begin to appreciate more than complain.
Well, if you have a friend that complains a lot, go get him climb a mountain. Listen to him as he complains about the long trek, the trail, the body pain and the moment he comes down all his complains in life are gone. LOL!
Reaching the summit is one of the best feeling for every climber. You are finally enjoying the fruit of all your hardwork and gruelling climb.
And what is better to do than to celebrate! Spend some time at the summit. Take a photo. Raise your hand and feel the breeze, the connection with nature. Not everyone can experience that.
Reaching the summit makes you more appreciative of life’s little achievement. It teaches you not to hold back on enjoying the moment.
8. Take care of your health
When I was in Batad, on our way to Tappiyah Falls, I remember cursing myself for eating too much, for not having a healthy lifestyle. Climbing a mountain is great way for you to listen to your body, pay attention to every deep breath, sweat and pain.
Your body is now telling you to take good care of your health. Having a healthy lifestyle is not easy. I admit that after my first climb, after a realization that I need to have a better health, I eventually went back to my old habits.
Healthy lifestyle is about habits. Eventhough that I am still overweight, I can say that I am stronger and I have more stamina because of mountain climbing.
I am starting with small baby steps towards a healthier life.
9. Be nice. Be kind to everyone
“Don’t be an assumptionista.” (making assumptions)
I heard this one from a climber jokingly telling this to her friend. Haha! It’s normal, a practice for everyone to say “hello, good morning” to every fellow climber you encounter on the trail.
It’s a practice. Ok. And it doesn’t mean that when someone says Hi to you, he likes you or has a thing for you. LOL! It’s a reminder for new climbers. Don’t be an assumptionista. Haha!
But it doesn’t take away the truth that people are becoming nicer, more respectful when climbing a mountain. I heard a friend said, why don’t why try that in the city? You know the hello and smile to all the people. Just the smile. 😉
Well, maybe it’s awkward to do this practice in the city, but climbing mountains makes you realize that it is possible, for people to be kind to one another.
After embracing the life of mountain climbing, I noticed I smile more than before. 🙂
10. You want it? Work for it.
Climbing mountains is definitely not for the lazy peeps. You want to experience the summit, be prepared to go through the phase that will test you physically and mentally.
And in life, if you want to have something, if you want to get a taste of you own summit, there’s only one thing to do, work!
11. Some things in life are worthy, so fight for it
Once I get to the summit, I remember telling myself, “wow, it’s beautiful.”
It’s like taking away all the pain and all the complains that you did as you hike going there. Summit is worth it, and in life there are things that are worthy of our effort, action and time.
Just like your dream, that belief in you. It’s worth it of every sweat and labor, so go on with a fierce focus.
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