One of the reasons I climb, why I do things like this: clarity. Here I am, half a world away from my family, work, friends, house, car, day to day activities – and even I have moments in which I wonder why I’m here. Last night was one of those moments.
The wind was howling at base camp, battering my tent around and making me feel even more alone than usual. I lay in my sleeping bag thinking of my wonderful son, my wonderful husband, my beautiful house and charmed life. And I just wanted to go home. In that moment, I decided that what I need most in the world is to be together with the people I love, not chasing around the globe bagging summits. I cried, longing for Kevin and Achim and not feeling at all like heading up the mountain today.
Much of that feeling was still with me this morning. I tried to call Kevin and when I again could not reach him, the tears re-visited me. The artist at base camp (highest art gallery in the world – Guinness book of world records), who also has the closest internet connection to our camp, gave me a big hug and said “you have to ask yourself why you are here. Maybe you don’t even need this summit; or maybe you do need this summit, just to get clarity on what you REALLY need.”
Yes, I think he got it. I had one more tearful moment as I thought about my guys while hiking up towards camp 1. Now I’m here, and more at peace again.
Clarity. What matters most in the world to me is my family. Being here brings that so sharply into focus. Sure, my work has always been important to me – I enjoy getting a good performance review; experiencing success and achievement; doing things that stand out; traveling; attending glamorous parties & big events; buying nice shoes… It’s all great. But all those things are so not the end game. And maybe that is the real reason I’m here – maybe that’s the point. To take yourself so far away from it all – literally and figuratively – that you get perspective and clarity on what really matters.