The other day I found myself thinking about stuff in general. It’s something I do on occasion, sometimes without even realizing it. Not sure why. I’ll be sitting watching the latest episode of whatever reality show happens to be on the tube (yes I still call it that) and it just happens. Thoughts come tumbling into my head whether I want them to or not. And they are not thoughts about the show. They’re other kinds of thoughts. Sometimes random. Other times quite focused. Like when I think about cleaning up the house for my garage sale this June. I think a lot about that. But so far that’s about all I’ve done because honestly, the idea of getting rid of all of the things I should get rid of is a bit overwhelming. Though I take some solace in knowing that my junk will become someone else’s treasure for whatever reason that may be.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s because of all the inspirational commercials on the television (see values.com) or maybe it’s just the time of year (new season, new life etc. etc.) but whatever the reason, the other day I got thinking about how most people, and when I say “most people” I really mean “other people” love a good challenge. People, it would seem, enjoy stretching to their limits by taking on tasks that push them out of their comfort zones, striving to meet lofty goals they set for themselves. Of course as an impartial and nonjudgmental observer of this phenomenon, I have come to realize that not all of these challenges are equal. On the contrary, there appears to be a rather broad range to choose from on the “challenge spectrum” ranging from the somewhat sublime “I’d really like to drop 5 pounds” to the absolutely ridiculous “better start training for that Death Valley Ultra” and everything in between.
Now don’t get me wrong. Not all challenges are physical. The things people choose to take on are many and varied, and from what I can see, limited only by their imaginations. Some are inspired to do good, helping those who are not as fortunate as they are. I know this to be true because, as we speak (I’m not exaggerating) there’s a spot on the telly with a guy rowing solo across the ocean to raise money for cancer. Turns out it’s also an ad for Advil. I think he’s going to need some. Others have more instrumental quests often involving jobs or school or some kind of heretofore hidden talent. Still others have goals that are vaguely esoteric and, in my mind at least, a little nebulous because who can really say whether or not you have “become a better person” even if that’s what you intended to do. And yet, with all of the choices out there, it seems that for a lot of people the ultimate challenge is to climb Mount Everest. Not sure why, it just is.
That’s when it hit me. When it all became clear. As much as I have never gone looking for a challenge, never even suggested that I have a bucket, here I am, plopped smack dab in the middle of it. This my friends, is my Everest. Writing the blog is my mountain to climb. My river to forge. My row to hoe. That’s right…”row”. It’s like it found me when I wasn’t looking. And no matter how hard I try I simply can’t seem to claw my way out. So here I am. Week after week, month after month, year after year. Seems I’ve taken lots of steps but there’s no sign yet of the top.
My son tells me that climbing Everest is no big deal anymore. What with all the wealthy adventurers looking for a challenge, hiring the locals to do the heavy lifting, there’s practically a clear, paved path to the top. Which makes me wonder. Maybe I too could find a couple Sherpas to help me along the way.