I climbed a hill, but it looked like a mountain to me: Sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need.

Last year I climbed a little mountain. A large hill if I am honest: but I really didn’t want to because I was worried that my knees wouldn’t take the pounding. I already had had one of my knees operated on in 2018 and the other was heading that way too. To be fair the only reason I climbed the hill was because my wife and son wanted too. So, there I am, in the lake district in October 2021 climbing a hill that I didn’t want to climb.

Even though I was a lot lighter than I was at the beginning of the god-awful pandemic, I didn’t want to expose my family and more importantly myself, to the fact that I had a truly poor level of fitness. I wasn’t ready to admit that my years of being a half decent rugby player were well and truly over. I was happier to avoid the inevitable consequences of age, weight and worn-out bones. Unfortunately for me there was no way that I could say no.

So off we went with my head down and survival mode most definitely turned up to eleven. After about 30 mins we paused as Douglas, our bonkersly brilliant puppy decided to answer the call of nature.
Taking the opportunity to gather myself and restore my laboured breathing I looked back and saw the view; it was spectacular. Simply spectacular. And as we moved off again. the higher we went the better it got. The vibrant autumnal colours, the sunlight painting the landscape with a golden hue that I simply would not have seen from standing in the village below. I hadn’t seen anything like it for years. All because I didn’t want to risk my knees and because I was embarrassed by my lack of fitness.

Eventually we almost reached the summit and the combination of my knees, tired dog and quite a treacherous path meant that our climb had come to its conclusion. We paused again and then headed down. Despite the panting and creaking limbs I would not have missed the climb for anything. Why? Because the view from the hill was breath-takingly beautiful and the sense of satisfaction and achievement was immense. When we got back to the village I looked back up and it was only a hill not a mountain, but it had, at the time, filled me with fear.

Sometimes in life we must face situations that you just don’t want to. Climbing your own personal mountain and saying to yourself “I can do this” because you know the result will bring a genuine sense of achievement and resolution is the best possible thing to do. What is more sometimes we have to go on journeys that we know will be arduous and unpopular but you know, in your heart of hearts, that it is the right thing to do to make you happy and restore your equanimity.

Take the challenge, find the right path, climb your mountain and restore your equanimity. And remember you don’t have to climb it on your own.