Living life to the fullest, taking risks, knowing your limitations, these are questions I frequently ponder. It isn’t something I dwell on, it is more of a musing from time to time.
And I have always been encouraged by the words penned by Helen Keller…
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in name, nor do the children of man as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
Janet, my partner, thinks along the same lines and is always very supportive of the adventures I have undertaken. The only questions she usually asks are have you thought through the risks, prepared as best you could, and are you ready?
I’m fortunate to have someone so supportive. Mind you, Janet is no wall-flower when it comes to adventure and applies the same principles of risk assessment herself. Whether when she jumps from a plane, or abseils down a building!
My mountaineering goals are as high as the largest mountains that can be found. I want to experience the joy and satisfaction, the freedom and beauty that mountains can bring into our lives.
It is a personal thing, shared by many and what better place to do it than the majestic Himalayan Mountains…
And rest assured, I have no morbid fascination of pushing to the limits of flirting with death, I’ll be happy to slowly slide away peacefully when my time comes!
And I have been cogniscant of the impact it has on those around me,both negative and positive, and especially our son, TomO.
We want to bring him up in an environment where he is encouraged to pursue his dreams and to believe that anything is possible. We feel that this is possibly one of life’s most important lessons.
He is showing signs that he is heading down this path of thinking…willing to throw himself at life!
He has been keen to play tennis and took his first lessons the other day. I was fortunate to be able to go and watch him, taking an early mark from work and I could see the enjoyment on his face. Now it is fair to say he wasn’t the best out there, in fact his tennis skills are quite limited. He knew that, but wasn’t concerned.
Coming off the court he said, “Dad, I loved it and I had a lot of fun, even if I’m not very good. I just need to work on it.”
And that attitude pleases both Janet and me…
He isn’t concerned that someone is better, that his skills are lacking.
I have a stated goal to climb Cho Oyu in 2014, which seems a long way off, but as we all know, time seems to fly-by so fast. But in all honesty, Cho Oyu is part of a bigger journey and TomO casually asked me a few months ago whether I intend to attempt a climb of Mt Everest.
I wanted to be measured in my answer, but truthfully the answer is yes, so I just told him that.
Highlighting that it is a journey that may take me there, but it isn’t my real focus just at the moment. In fact, the journey isn’t about climbing Mt Everest either, but it hopefully will form part of the dream, the journey, to see what I am capable of…
One step at a time is what I told him and if it goes the way I would like, and I retain good health, then it might be a chance sometime in the next 2-3 years, maybe sooner.
Before climbing in New Zealand recently, TomO left me a note to say that one day he might be standing on top of Mt Everest with me.
He had obviously given it some thought…
I’ve spent some time reading that note over.
Perhaps it is a dream, a child’s feeling of wanting to follow in the footsteps of those close to them, to emulate them.
The other day I casually asked him was that truly a goal he would like to pursue? Asking what was his motivation to do it?
“Yes”, he said. “How great it would be to experience that feeling of the mountains you have described to me, and doing it together makes it even better.”
He shows maturity beyond his age sometimes. Mind you, he is a 12-year old, so rest assured, not all the time!
Janet was there and we both told him there is plenty of time to think it through, although we highlighted that he will need to prepare for it if that is his dream, his desire…
Maybe the enormity of the task is lost on him presently and we will see how it unfolds. There is no pressure from us and we are ever so careful to ensure he understands that, no matter what it is he is pursuing. We are placing no expectations on him whatsoever, but endeavouring to help him understand it is important to develop and set your own expectations.
But it puts to the test our resolve to support him in any endeavour he wants to undertake.
Later, I asked Janet what she thought of “her boys” heading off to Mt Everest together?
Her reply was simple and uncomplicated.
“It scares me”, she said
Your philosophy is similar to mine because life is for living, it is an adventure.
It is so important to dream, nurturing it and turning it into reality. It doesn’t really matter what the dream is but to have that dream and work towards it through planning, training, practicing, taking one step at a time.
Enjoying the excitement of yourself challenging yourself and continually pushing the boundaries that really means that you are living, isn’t it good fun! – you found another follower
Dream big, so big it scares you…thanks, we only get one chance at it – embrace it!!!
I don’t know if security is a superstition, but it certainly is an illusion. When taking on a challenge such as the one you aspire to the mantra “plan for the worse and hope for the best” comes to mind. As for encouraging children to explore their options and to dare to dream, I could not agree more1
Yes, perhaps more of an illusion.
Only my opionion based on my experiences. 🙂
A few years ago, my employer had a vice president who used to philosophize about BAGs (big audacious goals)… the gentleman who ran my office took it one step further and talked about B-HAGs. What’s a B-HAG? It’s a big, hairy audacious goal. Coming from a consummate gentleman, that always made me smile. But all these years later, I still contemplate the B-HAGs in my own life.
What big, hairy audacious goals do I set for myself? And how much joy do I experience when I reach them? How excited am I for family and friends who set and reach their big, hairy audacious goals?
I like that…BHAG!
Love your views on life, family and upbringing your child. Everest…that sends excitement tingling in me whenever I think about it. haha… perhaps your son will be the next Jordan Romero.
I know an older retiree who lived life for security. She and her husband paid off their house and saved every penny towards their superannuation. They lived debt free by never taking holidays or spending on their dreams. They tried to protect themselves from illness and injury by not taking physical risks.
Now in her 70s, this person lost 50% of her super in the crash. Their suburb is now an industrial estate but they can’t afford to sell bc their house isn’t worth enough to buy elsewhere in today’s market. And they’ve not even had any adventures along the way.
This person told me security is a trap. You only live once so LIVE.
Tragic story, but I hear similar. Possibly in Australia it is linked to our desire to own a house and pay it off as fast as possible. I was brought up in that environment, and we didn’t really have holidays. Trust the training is going well….plenty of light in the mornings up your way now!
I love this!!! I completely agree that life is an adventure. I love doing crazy things and having crazy goals…. I tend to change my mind a lot, but I still love that I’m always working towards something! I think you’re being an awesome role model to your son!! I hope when I have kids someday they have the same kind of mindset!! It’s really amazing!
I love your outlook on adventure and love that you are supported so completely by your wife. Everest. Wow. It is enough for me to read about others attempting the climb. Just the thought of the Khumbu Icefield gives me shivers.
Me too! That is where many mishaps have occurred. But preparation, preparation, preparation, and luck is key! Mind you, I’ll be happy to get to the top of Mt Aspiring in January, I’m still a long way from the extreme high peaks, although as I say time flies…
You can do nothing better for a child than to encourage them to achieve their potential, in whatever they choose to do. I have no doubt that both of you will one day reach the top of your mountain 🙂 I’ll toast your goal from Base Camp!
Geez, I’m looking forward to your trip. I’m very excited for you….
Did you take that photo of TomO? It’s great! I love that he leaves you notes. So cute!
I definitely think people tend to emulate people they are close with. Therefore, I try to stay close with good people. =]
Yes..in Fiji, at sunset he was standing on the balcony, it seemed the right thing to do. Pity about the 20 metre drop (just kiddin!)…
You are way cooler than me. My adventures stick to riding a zip line and a few rope courses.
Nah, horses for courses, as long as you enjoy it and get a buzz that’s all that counts.
Strewth, and I’m not calling you a horse either…
Shure you are…now I am going to cry 😉