I let myself down, too often.

I listen, watch, and observe my actions and more often than not I feel satisfied with the ways I interact with others. I try to be kind, keep my agreements, and follow through when I say I will. I’d like to think those I interact with feel or can say the same about me. I do not feel the same about the way that I treat myself, I find it hard to look inward and commit to myself, follow-through, and show kindness to myself. I’ve been trying to change this for a long time, others have noticed it when I talk about myself. 

I’ve always tried to see the good in the world, to overlook its weaknesses and believe despite the darkness there is always a shining light of opportunity ahead. Lately, I have wondered why it has always been so easy to look outward and see so much goodness and so easy to look inward and see shortcomings. Is it this hard for others too? Do you the reader look inward and see darkness instead of light? In my mind, it shouldn’t be this way, yet it is for me. 

I look at all the times I’ve let myself downtime and time again after setting a goal that would stretch me enough that I could grow. I’ve learned to justify my failure to follow through by lying to myself and my peers with reasons that are placebos to fix the moment. I know this truth about myself and it bothers me, heaps. I had agreed to myself to run every day in September, it’s currently the 7th day of the month and I have run exactly zero miles thus far.

Why didn’t I start running right away? I was afraid to start because I didn’t want to fail. The reasoning behind this fear feels justified, I don’t want to see how bad my fitness really is. I’ve heard it said before you’ll never know if you don’t start, I agree I’ll never know how I am unless I start today. Yet, when I want to start I make another excuse and put off my running for another day. 

In essence, this too is running, running away from an opportunity to change my life by becoming a stronger healthier me. Running historically has been something I’ve used to think life decisions through, starting running again could help me make better decisions. As a runner you are challenging yourself to run a certain distance, only you can decide if you are going to reach your goal of fall short of it. 

I know that I used a fitness-based goal but the goals that I fall short on are goals of all types and the promises I break myself are various too. If you too are challenged by letting yourself fall short of your personal promises start small and move forward.

Descending from the Summit: Final Thoughts on Timpanogos.

While sitting on the top of the mountain I felt alive and accomplished, I had made it to the top and nothing had stopped me. I had worked through doubt, tired muscles, and a small bit of pain but I was her and nothing else mattered. We spent around 15 minutes on the summit before we began our journey back to the car. As many know the ascent is only half the journey, you have to make it back to the car and back home. So we began heading back down the mountain talking about the epic meal we were going to eat once we arrived back home. 

As we walked we passed people who were on their way up, they looked tired, with doubt in the eyes of some and a fire in the eyes of others. Had I looked that way? Could you see my discomfort on my face just an hour before as I trudged my way up to the summit? I believe so, because that was a challenge for me to complete. Yet, I had made it and now was on my way down so I was in better spirits trying to send encouragement and a smile to those going up because I felt that anyone could summit at this point. 

What is always interesting to me about any descent is how often I seem to slip or stumble. Sometimes it’s because my tired feet don’t move as they ought to be and other times I just don’t choose the best place to step. On the way down my friend and I both stumbled and slid about because the trail down seemed a bit more slippery than the trail on the way up. I have hope that others besides me experience this a little here and there. I also think that it makes the journey back to the car a bit more enjoyable or unpredictable for tired bodies and minds. 

Our dogs did extremely well on this hike, they kept going and never failed to find fun along the trail. They helped us to laugh when we needed it, and made friends all along the way with other hikers. Time spent outdoors is only enhanced by dogs and their personalities to me, ever since my dog started joining me on hikes my outdoor adventures have been more light hearted and cheerful despite the struggles. 

As you may have already guessed we made it back to the car in good spirits and grateful we had spent a few hours in the wilderness on a grand adventure. Our dogs too felt the relief when they climbed into the backseat and were sleeping in a few short minutes.

I learned that day that even if I am not always prepared to accomplish a task that I still have the ability to do that task in my own way and find success in doing so. We were not the fastest along our journey but we still made it to the summit and back to the car in good time. If you are not sure what you can accomplish pick a goal that stretches you a little outside of your comfort zone and go for it. Find your Timpanogos and summit it. 

Summiting Timpanogos: Reaching The Summit

We arrived at the saddle of Timp and looked over the valley below, a valley covered half by a lake, half buy houses and blanketed in a cloud of smog. It’s impressive to see all than humans have built, the roads, houses, water storage tanks, and parks all designed to direct us from one place to another, protect us, feed us, and help us relax. Each of these things has a purpose, they are there because man wants them to be. Even mighty mountains are amended or moved if mankind sees them as an obstacle and that scares me. 

After a few short minutes of looking over the valley we ban the next phase of the ascent the steep part as I’ve always called it, the part that can cause your already wobbly legs to shake a little more. This section was a breeze fort the pups as they easily maneuvered up and through the steep scramble. My friend made easy movements and made it up easily too, I trembled and my feet wobbled as I took each step. I climbed with confidence as I went but at the back of my mind I was chanting legs don’t fail me now. After we were through  this tight steep section of the climb I fe;lt relief but the real push to the summit had just begun.

The last half mile to the summit is actually a fairly easy stretch for most who have made it this far, you can see the shed at the top and you know that a place to rest with a beautiful view is just half a mile away. My legs were tired, my will was growing weaker by the minute, but my heart was still set on summiting so I began a slow process one step at a time to the summit with needed breaks a little more often than I would have liked, yet after some time I made it. I had completed the task we had set out on to have a great adventure and reach the top of Mount Timpanogos. 

What a feeling that was to stand again at what felt like was the top of the world, being able to see miles all around me of life in that area, the natural places, and just being in that moment happy that I had made it. We had made it together four human feet and eight dog paws had followed the trail to the summit and were now resting together eating and rehydrating for a bit as we took in the moments from 11,752′. 

Good friends who go on adventures with you are always great, a friend who encourages you to push a little outside of your comfort zone are the greatest. These are the friends who will help you grow the most. My friend had encouraged me throughout the journey to keep moving, smile a little and soak up the exceptional moments of beauty as we climbed.

Summiting Timp: The Way Up.

We arrived at the Timpooneke trailhead at half-past seven ready to start our trek to the higher elevation. Our dogs jumped out of the car with eager paws and noses ready to trot their way through the forest smelling every scent they might cross. As we began my muscles felt tired and slow, stretching a little along the way. Around one mile up we stopped and stretched and things started feeling a bit less rusty and a little more fluid with each step I took up the trail.

It’s funny how you believe you are in great physical shape till you do something that you do not usually do. I personally know I am not in the best shape but I hike often yet have found myself a little heavier than I have been, a little weaker, and a little more out of breath on this hike than I would have liked. As my legs trembled and my lungs ached I chatted with my friend about life, it’s ups and downs, and the outcomes of decisions made and yet to be had. 

One thing that makes sense to me is hiking, no matter the pain, the conversations, or the views I see hiking makes sense to me. As we traveled up the trail we’d cross snowfields of various sizes that our dogs would eagerly relax and play in as they loved the cooling feeling of the snow on their paws and as they roll around aside from the beauty around and the conversations with my friend watching the dogs play was what kept me entertained when my feet didn’t want to move any further. 

As all adventures go we pressed on at a good pace winding through the trees and the switchbacks, feeling the sun on our necks, the wind in our hair, and seeing the beauty that was created a little at a time over thousands of years. I always fail to forget how beautiful the hike up Timpanogos is with its overlook of the valleys and mountains to the north and sense of wilderness to the south as you hike towards the summit one step at a time. 

Summiting Timp: First thought to first steps.

My friend messaged me asking what my plan was for Monday because it had been far too long since we had been on an adventure. I looked at the day ahead and having nothing on the calendar besides time with my dog and dinner with my wife after she was finished at work I gladly accepted the invitation to get out on an adventure and start the week out right. 

We talked through a couple of ideas such as hiking with our dofs to the granddaddy lakes region in the High Uintas, heading to the summit of Ben Lomond Peak, or hiking around the Mount Timpanogos Wilderness and possibly summiting the peak. We settled on hiking Timpanogos as it was the closest option and the least amount of driving, agreeing to meet at 6:30 am the following morning and set out for a day of hiking, beautiful views and conversation. 

Although I was looking forward to the day ahead I was uncertain about my ability to gracefully climb the 4,390 feet to the summit as I have not been as active this year as I have been in past years. I have summited this mountain twice before and both times I was in better shape physically and probably a little more mentally strong as far as hiking in high elevations goes. I committed myself to a day of fun on the mountain and accepted that there would be a struggle as I went but one that I needed and looked forward to. 

As I prepared myself the next morning for the climb I casually stashed 4 liters of water for my dog and I along with two energy bars for me and variety of snacks and food for my four legged friend. My thought was to pack for a climb that could be classified as light and fast but still carry the needed gear in case of unexpected weather I added a waterproof windbreaker and a merino wool sweater for just in case. 

My friend arrived shortly before 6:30 am and our adventure of the day began as two climbers and their adventure pups were bound for the wilderness and possibly summit of Mount Timpanogos in the Wasatch range. 

Part 1 of 4

Comparison.

One thing I’m great at that I wish I wasn’t is comparing myself to others around me. I tend to look at the variety of things they are accomplishing then reflect on the things I am accomplishing myself. This is an extremely strange loop of life to be in as I know that it is good to a certain extent to evaluate where you are at so that you can decide where you want to go, but it is extremely dangerous to dwell on what others are doing insomuch that you fail to recognize what you can be doing yourself. 

I know that I am not alone in spending a little too much time comparing myself, my job, and my life overall with the lives of others I know. I know this because there is a term that is used to describe people who use others as a benchmark of success; this term is known as “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Who are the Joneses you might be asking yourself? They are someone you hope to emulate and become like almost with a feeling of resentment. 

The resentment comes when you fail to match what others have been able to do with their time, skillset, and money. As I stated before it is not bad to compare yourself to others so long as it is done in a healthy way that enables you to grow and progress. I know that for me I do best when I see what others are doing, aspire to do great things too and set off on my own journey to greatness. Is it an easy journey? Not at all, you are usually alone in your desire and pursuit as others have their own quests they are on. If you are smart you can utilize others along the way and collaborate and build partnerships that can benefit you both along the way. 

So remember it’s not bad to compare yourself to others, just do it in a healthy way then set your goals and move forward.

mediocre.

Mediocre is defined as, of only moderate quality; not very good.

This is something I feel about myself more often than I’d like to admit when it comes to my ability to follow through with some projects. This project in particular is something I have felt the most mediocre about in a very long time. I kind of just put the project in park in my garage and haven’t taken it for a spin all summer. 

Is that something that I had intended to do? Not exactly, I started two podcasts this summer, interviewed a few dozen people, attended the eBay open, and read a few cookbooks all while spending time with my wife and dog. I thought I was keeping busy enough the thought of this project would fade away until life slowed down and I was ready to start writing a little bit more again. I was completely mistaken about the possibility to let this project slide. 

I had created an instagram page as a way to promote my project and each time I signed onto my personal instagram account I was met with a reminder of a personal promise I was failing to keep to myself. To put it simply just the social media account on it’s own could have driven me to feel guilty, but that wasn’t all I had created as a commitment to myself that I would write three hundred words a day. I had set reminders on my calendar to go off weekly as a reminder to see if my grammar was improving and to check the weekly analytics to see if people were reading my thoughts. It has been a constant reminder that I have been letting myself slip away from my goal, to become a better writer this year. 

I’ve said this before on this project and blog that I want to do better. For the rest of the year I want to be a little less mediocre in completing a simple task that should take me fifteen minutes or less to complete. 

So here’s to starting this project back up, and to being a little mess mediocre at following through on my promises to myself.