“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”-Edmund Hillary
As a goalgetter, I hesitate before taking on another challenge onto my already overflowing plate. Until that task is finished and ”checked off”, it is nothing more than a TO-DO on my list mixed with other tasks like “get grocery” and “refill prescription”. And since I am not physically fit, honestly I do not like hiking and always avoid it like how I avoid other physical and outdoorsy activities. I have been trying to change my mentality to be more living in the moment and enjoying the journey. It is not easy to rewire your brain but with practise, anything is possible. If I am being present, instead of being depressed about the past or anxious for the future, then hiking becomes a beautiful walk in the nature with endless amazing surprises.
This past weekend, I was “forced” into a family BBQ dinner by the lake. My cousin’s family decided to host this get-together Canadian style. See, Chinese people don’t normally do BBQ in the park or even in the backyard. The reason is very straight-forward. We cannot afford backyards in China and the parks (and everywhere else) are just too crowded to have anything grilled but your sanity. On Saturday, I went to Costco and got burger patties, buns, fruits and a big jar of Kimchi (a traditional Korean style side dish of fermented cabbage and no, I am not Korean). We drove 30 minutes outside of the city to get to Elk Island National Park. There were a lot of people on the beach already, laughing, running or kayaking. The starving mosquito army that is immune to bug sprays doesn’t seem to bother anyone at all.
My mind got instantly quiet standing by the lake. It was like the gentle wind brushing through my hair pressed a hidden Mute button inside my brain. All the noise went away. I can hear nothing but a bird, beautifully chirping in the bush behind. My fiancé grabbed my hand and dragged me onto a little trail by the lake. The hike took no more than 15 minutes. But the effect lasted longer than a bottle of Prozac. I stood on the top of the hill with nothing on my mind. There were no To-dos, no due dates, no judgements or expectations at that moment. It was just me, my lover, my son and the nature. And it felt like the whole world was complete.
Now it would be a great time to insert Miley Cyrus’s song: “Ain’t about how fast I get there; ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s about the climb.” It should always been about the climb. My goalgetter way of living can only get me a gold star in class or maybe a plastic trophy at work; it cannot bring me happiness in life. Why rushing to the end if you can have fun in the process? Just like reading a great book, or watching a good movie, it’s the content that counts.
“Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” Dr. Seuss.