Glancing through Facebook, it’s easy to believe that for most people, life is a series of joyful moments. Even knowing that social media is a highlight reel of people’s lives, it’s easy to start believing that others are always happy.
In reality, I think of life as more of a climb. Some days a struggle, but most often a climb.
I’ve had the opportunity to climb Mount Kilimanjaro twice. The night before the summit push is long, cold, dark, and tortuous. There are many times I asked myself why I was doing it. Reaching Uhuru peak at the break of dawn, it all made sense. When we’re in the struggle, it’s often hard to see the point. Glancing back in the darkness, the distant glow of headlamps of the other groups weaving their way up the mountain reminded me of how far we’d come, even though we weren’t yet at the top.
We judged our movement by the needs of the group, taking breaks if people were struggling, telling stories, and singing songs when spirits needed to be lifted. We knew we were going to do this as a team, and that we would leave no one behind.
By husband Joe has led over 7 school groups up Kilimanjaro. Of the people who attempt to summit Kilimanjaro, about 50% are successful. With these school groups, after months of training, group work, and team building, the success rate is almost 100%. What I have learned from this, is that we work best in teams. The second time I summitted felt harder than the first. Although the photos look the same, they represent two completely different experiences. Both of which were preceded by many months of training.
Perhaps life is like this, a climb, punctuated by triumphs and joyful moments. If I’m not having fun today, that’s okay, as long as I’m content with the longer term journey. Wherever you are on your journey, we invite you to reach out and join us as we move forward, together.
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong