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. 

Month.

A month is a long time for some and a short time to others. Plenty can happen in a month, you could train and run a marathon in a month, you could write a book, improve your health, take a trip to a few new places, or focus on something with all of your focus. That is what I did last month, I spent some time focused on improving my mental health, I was in a rut and it was a challenge to get out of. I felt awful and uninspired, I felt weak in everything I did and withdrew myself from some of my greatest friendships.

It’s hard to struggle and not always understand why. It is a puzzle to me why I withdrew from my friends and felt the desire to keep to myself. I never know when this is going to happen either, the world suddenly feels heavy and I feel like Atlas holding the weight of the world on my shoulders. Is this something I want? No, but its something I must work through when it happens and move forward from those moments of deep doubt and weight.

Last month after mothers day I took a break from writing every day and decided to look inward and reflect to see how I was feeling, how I could find personal clarity, and how I could be in a better mental state. It was not easy to look inward as I did, writing down lists of negative self-thoughts and a few positive ones. It made me extremely sad to see how poorly I looked at myself when I know that I have heaps more to offer than I thought I did during those moments. I knew that I wasn’t feeling up to par with being my happier self, but that I could work my way through and out of the rut I had found myself in.

If you or anyone you know seems a little off from their usual self don’t be afraid to ask them how they are doing, see if they need an ear to vent to, or just need someone to sit with them in silence until they are ready to talk. Try and be there for them and make sure they know that you are willing to be there when they need. This seems like common sense friendship but it isn’t. It’s something that shows you are a friend with a deeper understanding of the feelings and needs of others.

To my friends who stood beside me through these challenging times, I say thank you. Thank you for listening when I needed, sending memes out of the blue that raised a smile on my face, and laughing with me when I needed a good laugh. Friendship is a beautiful thing isn’t it?

Reconnect.

Spending time to catch up with old friends is a great experience to have. Especially if you and your friends want to spend time together but are often derailed from time together due to schedule differences. Reconnecting with friends is best done however you prefer spending time together playing games, eating dinner, or doing activities out on the town. Life is a series of moments that come at us fast. Spending time with friends is a good way to spend a few of those moments.

Tonight a group of my friends got together and we all reconnected after an extended time  of not seeing each other. It was an excellent time overall reconnecting hearing stories of other peoples lives and the new changes that have happened to each other through the months and years. We laughed and rekindled our friendship while enjoying a meal and a few hours of pop culture conversations. As we started to leave we all parted with happiness in our hearts and smiles on our faces not knowing when the next time we would all be together again.

Reconnecting with people from our past often can bring up warm memories of the years past. Often those memories connect with memories, these can be good and warm, memories of embarrassment, or bad memories we’d like to forget. Often we can forget the moments until we are back with the people we were with when those moments happened. Don’t be embarrassed or surprised if those memories rekindle feelings you’d thought you had long forgotten. Just take a few moments and remind yourself of the here and now and where you currently are.

When you can reconnect with a friend or two from the past who was a good influence on you, check in and see how they are, and how life is going for them. Try to do your best to be a listener interested in your friend’s life. It will be a refreshing experience you’ll be grateful to have.

Know.

I’ve been told many times that life is all about who you know more than what you know. Being able to use your connections to accomplish different tasks is key to finding success in much of life’s challenges. Think about all the people you know, they like you have different skills and interests that they utilize on a daily basis without much thought. Now think about yourself and inventory your assets or skills, you personally are probably skilled in 5 – 10 things well and those things might not always be the skills needed to accomplish the task.

Tonight truly reminded me why it’s so valuable to know and be friends with people with different skills than you. I have been building an e-commerce side hustle and I finally felt comfortable ordering some bulk product and seeing what I could do to move a larger volume of products. I needed some pictures taken that would encourage people to purchase these items and my iPhone photography skills wouldn’t do the job. I messaged one of my good friends and we set up a time to take quality photos to best move the product.

When I arrived I figured that we’d use my friend’s camera and just take some quality high-resolution pictures. He had lights’, a white backdrop, and the digital editing equipment and skills to make the pictures better than I had expected. I am truly grateful to know people who have skills that they can share to make my ambitions a reality without much work to them.

We can all think of times when our friend’s skill sets have helped us out when we needed a hand. We can also probably think of the times when we have done the same for others, showed up and helped out when needed with ease. We need to remember to integrate that into our natural motion every day, offering to lend a hand where we can and lift the world to a better place.

It’s all about who you know right?

Miles.

Today I took some friends from the Philippines on a small road trip to central Utah and back. It was their first time seeing rural Utah outside of the Utah and Salt Lake counties. They loved the views that my state shared with them and were amazed at how I lived in such a beautiful place. While we drove those many miles south then back north we spent time talking about this and that keeping our friendship current and lively.

Driving to me is an opportunity to see the world from the relaxation of a chair and a destination in mind. You can travel at a high enough speed that you feel you’re flying  but have a better viewpoint of what’s around you than if you are thousands of feet above the ground in an airplane. Road Trips are ideal times just to share a conversation that like a road has various twists and turns yet keeps the day moving forward to a destination.

There are many reasons to just jump in a car with friends and set off to see the world and the reason behind it is simple: Spending time in a car together brings people together if you’re open to it. Being willing to spend the miles enclosed in that small space listening to each others music, stories, and opinions can really grow friendships stronger. We need more of these times together with those we know and care for.

It doesn’t always have to be a trip to a tourist destination where you can choose to spend time. You could take a friend to see their family, a family member to see the doctor, or just head out for lunch together and see where the day takes you. The key to these miles and minutes spent together is simply the act of investing your time for friendship.

Missed.

I missed last typing my three hundred words last night, oops. I wish that I had some good reason to have missed writing something up last night but I really don’t. I made the choice to spend the night with my brother who was visiting instead of writing something up. I actually take back what I wrote a few lines before this. I have the greatest reason to have missed last nights writing time.

My youngest brother came up and spent a day and a half visiting my wife and I. He joined me in visiting a local Krishna Temple and checking in on a llama I used to use as a marketing prop at work. He also chauffered me around to get a little extra driving time as he will soon be taking his driving test, it’s safe to say the sidewalks are safe as he is a great driver! We then went and visited a jump house and bounced around an obstacle course, jumped on Olympic trampolines, and attempted to look graceful while dunking on some tall hoops. It was a blast.

Why do I recap with you what we ended up doing? Because time with my brothers is my favorite past time. I love spending time with them and seeing all they have become as they’ve grown older. I can’t always say that I was a good brother to them, but I’ve worked to become better than I used to be and I feel that our friendships are stronger than ever. We’ve been able to share better experiences as we’ve all grown up a bit more and worked together to keep our relationships strong by just spending time together as we can.

What I’m really getting at is that you may not have been the best sibling to your brothers and sisters in the past but there isn’t a better day than today to try to be a better sibling. Whether it’s a simple text, snap, or letter sent just try and start a conversation that matters and that will rekindle a friendship with a family member. Is it easy to do? Not always, but it’s effort than can pay off if you are willing to do your part.  

Pronounce.

I think more people than me have experienced a moment when you are talking with someone and they get a confused look on their face then question/comment on the way that you pronounce a word. I happen to know that there are times when I poorly pronounce a few words from time to time. It’s always a funny experience for people when I say a few of these words and they aren’t certain if I am joking or if that is really how I speak.

One of the funniest words that I mispronounce is usually Popeyes. Yes, I’m talking about the chicken joint. I have surprised dozens of friends when I mispronounce Popeyes for Pope- eyes and for some reason, I am constantly relearning how to correctly pronounce the word then shortly falling back to my incorrect pronunciation of the word. There are times when I am genuinely embarrassed that I fall back to a poorly pronounced word and there are other times that I just don’t care and hope that my friends can forgive me for my poor words.

I think that is a slight metaphor for life at times. We each have weaknesses that we know are there and try to change or adjust to a better practice or way of doing things. There are times when we stand strong and hold to said new idea or habit and there are other times that we attempt the change then fail a few times and decide that reverting back to our previous behavior. There are times when we understand that we are as we are and will be just fine staying as we are. Others often may see our shortcomings yet decide to pursue our friendship and accept us as we are.

Life is a challenge at times, we can mispronounce words or have a few shortcomings but people will work with us if they are true friends and are willing to work with our differences. As we would hopefully do for them as we get to better know them.