A couple months ago, a guy in one of the neighbouring offices told me he would be taking a trip to the mountain come beginning of April. I’ve never had the chance to run into him again to ask him the questions I had, and to wish him a safe trip (we all know how relentless the mountain can be). How long would he be gone? He had told me he wasn’t planning on trying to summit the mountain, but how high would he be climbing? Would he show me photos of the trip?
He is one of two people I know that have expressed interest in going there. He’s going to a place many of us will never go, and he spoke about it as casually as if he had decided to take a weekend jaunt to Vegas.
The conversation and the trip he’s undertaken has pushed my mind to think about decisions. We have tons of goals and ambitions throughout our life: some that reach fruition, some that do not. At some point in our thought process we make the decision to get up and go, and to make it this time. What does it feel like to you?
I’m doubled over onto the ground, seeing stars and feeling nauseous. If I’m not careful, I run the risk of throwing up whatever breakfast is left in my stomach. I’ve made a rookie mistake. I pushed myself too hard too soon on the most famous trail in Vancouver: The Grouse Grind. In that moment of trying not to throw up, I feel a bizarre calmness take over. There is no emotion, just acceptance. I will make it to the top. I don’t care if it takes me eight hours (I hope not), but one thing is certain: I would make it.
I am standing off to the side of a huge hotel ballroom, packed with 250 to 300 people. I’ve had to feel my pounding heart through seven great, hilarious speeches. District 21 Humorist Contest. The minute of silence before they announce my name to be the next speaker is the most deafening and agonizing minute of my life. I’m afraid to move my legs for fear they’ll give way. I resist the urge to check (for the hundredth time) that my microphone is still there.
The Contest Chair exchanges a glance with the timer. Papers are shuffling, the air is humming again. In the split moment before I hear my name called, in that split moment before I am filled with joy, adrenaline and excitement at finally having my turn to perform my speech, there is nothing. There is no fear, there is no emotion. There is just acceptance: I will go up onto that stage, and I will have fun. Whatever happens after that, doesn’t matter. I will have fun.
For me, I’ve discovered that is what I feel like in those key moments, those key decisions before I push through and give it my all. There is no emotion. I am not giving myself pep talks. It is like someone else is stating a fact and I have no doubts accepting it as such. Undoubtedly, there will be planning involved, there will be hard work, and there may be many moments of doubt, nerves, and cold sweats. The result of my decision could come in a day, week, month, or years. I look for that one moment where there is nothing but a certain calmness and clarity. That moment lets me know I will achieve that goal (and so much more).
If you have ever been faced with a decision or had a decision pop into your head, what does it feel like? How do you know you will go on to achieve whatever it is? How do you know (or feel) you will make it? It could be the most absurd decision (to others) but somehow you know in your heart of hearts you will succeed. What does your moment feel like?
P.S. The last time I had such a moment, this simple thought popped into my head: “I will get a dog.”