Driving back from a recent climb of Mount Carrigan I was dirty, covered in mosquito bites, and tired. I had spent four hours driving and seven hours slogging up a mountain. It was late and the drive home was long. It made me wonder – why do I climb mountains?
Climbing mountains is sometimes boring, sometimes annoying, often tiring, and always a challenge. It usually involves getting up early to do something hard. The weather rarely cooperates. It is either raining, too windy, too icy, too wet, too cold or too hot. The first hundred steps on a steep incline you usually think, “This sucks.”
But that’s the reason I like climbing mountains. Climbing tests mental strength. When something is awful, which it often is, I force myself to smile and instead of saying “I hate this” I will myself to say “I love this.” Often I will say that through gritted teeth. But I will lie so convincingly to myself that I come to believe it. Some situations are so beyond horrible that I laugh aloud at them.
This aligns nicely with my belief that convenience makes us soft. Give someone a nice couch, a favorite TV show, a good drink and everything else and they will still manage to find something to complain about. My favorite is when people take to Facebook to rail about a long line, being stuck in traffic, a slow download or whatever.
Guess what? No one cares. The world does not revolve around meeting your needs. I love the mountains and the mountains have no obligation whatsoever in loving me back. And I love them all the more because of it.