A few weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary by climbing up Mount Monadnock. 3,165 feet of asthma-induced breathing had me thinking a lot about what it means to achieve something.
With each step and climb I took up the mountain, my breathing become noticeably louder. I could feel my lungs pull tight and my throat close at certain points. Typically, it was at those moments in the climb that a wonderfully energetic 8-year old would come scampering up the mountain-side, easily passing my slow, old and winded self.
These moments left me frustrated. How could it be so easy for some people and not so easy for me? I work out (yes, not as regularly as some), but it doesn’t really seem to matter because rise in elevation + asthma lungs = incapability to breath properly. So, I didn’t even have a fair shot!
This is when I have to sit back and remind myself that achievement is not a competition with the world. I could sit on a rock, catch my breath and begin to question why I even exist if I can’t climb a mountain faster than an 8-year old – but that kind of thought would get me no where very quickly (well, it would get me down the mountain and back in my car very quickly).
We can question why we aren’t given talents, abilities and gifts like others if all we do is sit back and compare ourselves with others who have those specific talents, abilities and gifts. I will never be able to climb a mountain like Reinhold Messner, or a very active 8-year old for that matter, but that is OK. Neither of them are able to write a short, witty blog post (at least I hope so).
It is not what we are incapable of doing in comparison to others, but what we actually can achieve given everything that we are – all of our past, all of our present, all of our gifts, all of our talents, all of our disabilities, all of our emotions, all of our stresses, all of us. Don’t question if you can even achieve something, instead question why you have not set the goal.
After thinking through these things, I was able to sit on the top of the mountain with my husband of 8-years, happy as a clam to have just finished the climb in 2-hours, and excited for the memory made with my husband, and the achievement that we had accomplished that day together.