Summer has been and gone, and the autumn with some rain and thunder storms has set in. School has started again for my boys, and my daughter has started a new adventure living her best life in Norway dancing her days away.
This summer as well as all the fun and time with family, I also had one big goal I wanted to achieve which isn’t hard to guess if you know anything about me -I wanted to climb another mountain. We booked a week in the Lake District for the end of August were we could hike to the top of Scafell Pike. I have had some issues with my residual limb over the last few years, and am awaiting revision surgery which has meant that I have not been able to do as much walking as I would like to, so I was a bit nervous about it. After we fitted in a bonus practice climb of a mountain in my beautiful home town Bergen in Norway, I felt positive that even with my limitations I would be able to climb a few extra metres to achieve my goal.
In preparation I did read about the best route to climb up Scafell Pike, downloaded descriptions, maps and some pictures to help navigate and keep us off the trickier routes. When the day came for the climb we set off early to make sure we got a parking spot and off we went. What really surprised me the most was how there was absolutely no easing your way into the fact that you were climbing a mountain, it was pretty much steep uphill from the get go. Yes I know it’s a mountain but I have done a few of them in my time, and normally your thighs seem to get a bit of an easier start to the climb. Not so much with Scafell Pike. It was also a beautiful sunny day as well, which meant my prosthetic became very warm and I needed a few stops to wipe it down and reset the leg. I will admit that there was a moment I even thought to myself, I am not sure I will be able to do this.
At this very moment I asked myself -is it worth it to me? Is it worth going on? The answer was YES and even when the path turned into lots of small loose stones (which really is tricky for an amputee) I pushed through. I could have so easily given up, but guess what -I made it to the top!
On the way down we met many people who would ask ‘Are we there yet?’ ‘How far is it to the top?’ ‘Will it get any easier soon?’. There was so many different tactics used trying to push on an unwilling member of a group, a slightly unfit friend or the absolute clueless to the fact that climbing a mountain would mean an uphill hike. It struck me then, and I have thought about it a lot since; the power of attitude and self-motivation, the internal drive that keeps you moving forward to what matters to you.
Motivation can come in many forms. We overheard some guys who was trying to encourage a friend who was struggling by telling them it’s only 30 minutes left. Even she could see when she looked up that wasn’t true. Some others told a family members that the worst was over when we knew it had barely begun. There were countless of ‘well you’ve made it this far now, so you might as well keep going.’ Who knows -maybe they all made it to the top listening to well meaning encouragement and some false promises, but it made me think that borrowed goals and motivation through incentives (or fear), really makes giving up very easy.
I love standing at the top of a mountain, after years of not being able to, I really love that I can! The sense of achieving the impossible, accomplishing a dream once so far out of reach. It really matters to me, and it makes it worth the extra blister on the stump, the rest day and leg-off day I need after a climb, or a long hike. It is worth it to me! I do not need some false promises or somebody dangling a carrot in front of me (though chocolate is always a pick-me up, and it is good to surround yourself with great people who are there for you and support you when it gets a bit tough). It is my goal, my choice and my achievement. And when I had a little wobble and thought I couldn’t do it, all it took was one question: is it worth it to me?
What is your mountain?