Epiphanies Don't Always Come On Mountaintops

I half expected all the answers of life to strike me like lightning as I looked out to the snowcapped peaks, the mighty glacier, the rolling hills, the rivers below leading out to the Tasman Sea.


I half expected all the answers of life to strike me like lightning as I looked out to the snowcapped peaks, the mighty glacier, the rolling hills, the rivers below leading out to the Tasman Sea.

The four hour climb was well worth the view.

But, there was no epiphany in that moment. Just really, really wobbly legs.

Nothing else.

Another adventure, another moment of accomplishment, another stunning view, another picture no one would believe.

The epiphanies would have to wait.

View from the top of Mount Fox, in Fox Glacier NZ

My new 40L backpack arrived in the mail much earlier than I expected. I had decided to take my minimalism to the next level: From a big duffel on wheels down to this.

Everything I truly need stuffed into an impossibly small space.

Because the more I live, the more I discover what holds me back is the idea that I need anything specific to make it through. Some particular jacket? Yes, it has memories, good times, great looks all attached to it. That doesn’t mean it belongs in my future.

Perhaps the idea that even sentimental value is worthless is a cynical one, but I find it cathartic to focus on who I am now. Who I need to be for today, to be true to myself, to be true to who I want to be tomorrow as evaluated by my actions in the present.

Keeping a jacket that doesn’t fit into that because I’ll think fondly of it once it’s gone doesn’t make any sense. Today is not the day for that jacket anymore.

(Because, everything is temporary, right? Even the good things.)

Here’s goodbye to my jacket.

mtfox-bridge

They say life is a journey.

When you travel, you meet people. You leave people. You take the “real world” and condense it down into short, intense experiences and it’s up to you to squeeze as much out of it as possible.

And you do, because you’re in a different place with different people going through the same thing. You find solidarity and commonality with people you never would have bothered getting to know otherwise.

But, if life is a journey, why do we wait to do that until we’re in the midst of some insane sounding situation?

What happened to framing your own life in such a way that makes you want to make the most out of your day because you never know what lies ahead? Why have we stopped finding the commonality with the people around us?

We take so much for granted. Our family, friends, partners. We assume they’ll be there, that they’ll always care about us the way they do now. It’s so easy to go through the motions.

The events and circumstances of life are not a guarantee.

Today was a roll of the dice, a deal of the cards, a step forward on the trail. But the weather is fickle and what’s around the next turn is unknown.

It’s easy to shake your head no, close your eyes, and keep walking blind. You don’t have to be afraid of the edge of the cliff if you don’t see it coming; if you refuse to acknowledge its existence. Hopefully the fall is quick and painless.

mountaintop

My epiphany came in a bittersweet goodbye kiss before watching the bus disappear on down the road.

It was less a sudden epiphany, and more a quiet realization. It sat in my chest as a sort of sadness at first, but the words to describe it have found their way out.

You may follow your heart around a nation, or across the world only to find that believing in something doesn’t make it real. No matter how hard you believed in it.

But, you can’t stop believing in things, you can’t stop opening yourself up, you can’t stop trying. 

Because even those experiences take you somewhere you were meant to be. You will find the people who deserve your attention, your time, your friendship.

If someone makes you feel undeserving, misplaced, or less-than in any way, you have no obligation to keep them in your life. There is never a circumstance where you deserve to be treated that way. Your existence and your feelings are not to be mocked, scoffed at, or belittled.

Experience teaches you lessons about the sort of people you don’t need in your life, and the sorts of people you do. Experience teaches you what’s worth sacrificing for, but also when you should hold your ground. Experience gives you the strength to find who you are and what’s important to you. 

At the end of the day, you have to keep believing in something, and to keep pursuing whatever that is. Stay positive in the face of negativity.

When you follow your passion — even misplaced — passion will find you, somehow.