...I will climb a thousand more.
I have climbed a thousand mountains. At least, it feels that way, sometimes.
Sometimes my mountain is small, I can climb it with ease, reaching the summit and celebrating with cheers out loud. I stand there, arms raised, face to the sun, and I scream, because it's something to scream about.
Sometimes my mountain is more of a hill. I trudge up it in rain and snow, my boots soggy, my left sock sliding down inside of the boot. I cry a lot because I meant to wear a heavier coat, I meant to bring a snack, I meant to ask someone to come with me. But, I didn't. I didn't do any of those things that involve preparation for ... life.
So, there I am, trudging up the hill, using a sturdy tree branch as a walking stick. I wonder in which wind storm the branch broke off of the tree I found it under. It's tough, I'm glad to have it, but it could break at any time, leaving me trying to get up this mountain without any help at all.
What was I thinking?
Oftentimes, the mountain is so tall I can't see the summit. I stand at the base of the mountain, soaking up the sun - because this is Colorado and the sun shines almost every day here - and I squint at the snow I see on top of the mountain. I check my boots. I check my supplies. I feel good because I have a backpack full of things I know I'll need, including but not limited to: a tent (a good tent, with no rips or tears) a camping stove; a blanket and pillow; a supply of food to last at least a week; water; a lantern; my phone - though I will likely run out of charge on the mountain - this isn't TV, after all; extra socks; extra underwear; extra jeans; a hat; and various other items.
When the mountain is as big as this one, I know I need a lot of supplies. I know the trek is going to be hard. I know there will be hidden stumbling blocks. I know how to prepare.
And, yet, the mountain often defeats me.
And, yet, as I take a deep breath, there at the base of the mountain, knowing the weather will get worse as I go up - it will be colder, windier, darker, with trees that cover the sun, and broken limbs, broken earth, tripping me at every turn if I am not careful, I hesitate. Instead of moving forward, I gulp and take a step backwards.
Do I really want to do this?
What will I achieve, really? There will be no accolades. People climb mountains all the time.
There will be no reward. I may bask in my own accomplishment, if I succeed in reaching the top, but few others will notice. When I brag, when I share my story, family and friends will raise a glass to me, and go back to their own challenges in life.
Why, I begin to think, am I doing this? It looks hard.
Oh the mountains we climb every day. The challenges and struggles we go through, every day. Are they worth it?
I have climbed a thousand mountains, and I will climb a thousand more. Why? Because they give me life. Because they give me satisfaction. Because they beckon with a sneer, as if they know I will not succeed, and I have to prove them wrong.
There is tenacity in climbing mountains.
There is adventure and a sense of conquering the unknown.
There is darkness, and there is light.
You will become breathless with the exertion. Blinded by worry. Hounded by weather.
But, if you climb that mountain, if you tackle that task, if you bring determination, stubbornness, desire, and your inner strength, you'll get through it. Even if you don't make it to the top, you will find joy and happiness along the way. As you go, you will learn to forge new tools and you will begin to understand the weather and the terrain. You will make decisions that hold you in place, or push you further ahead.
The mountains we climb are not meant to give us picnics without ants or beetles.
The ants, the beetles, the gnats, will swarm. And we will beat them away.
Because, once we are free of them, we'll see the butterflies and the honeybees, and the world will show itself a more sincere place.
I don't remember all the mountains I have climbed. But, I remember enough of them.
And, I know that climbing them is just a sliver of the life I am living.
So, I leave the mountains aside, for a bit of every day. Instead of climbing or suffering or even finding the joy that climbing gives me, I pause a bit and sit with others and listen to their stories, of the mountains they have climbed. I hear a song in every story, see a fluffy cloud in every smile, watch for the sunshine as it sparkles in your eyes. And, so I listen just a little longer.
And I know that we are all in this together. It can be no other way.
Mountains are there to climb... but we cannot climb them day after day, without each other. It's what being an entrepreneur means.