“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.”
I have always been encouraged by these words penned by Helen Keller.
Living life to the fullest, taking risks, knowing your limitations, these are questions I frequently ponder.
Janet thinks the same way, and is the anchor that questions the balance between risk and reward, whether you have prepared as best you could, and are you ready?
My mountaineering goals are as high as the largest mountains. I want to explore further the joy and satisfaction, the freedom and beauty that mountains bring into my life.
But I have been cognisant of the impact it has on our son, TomO, negative and positive.
We are bringing TomO up in an environment where he is encouraged to pursue his dreams and to believe that anything is possible, and from an early age he has demonstrated a willingness to throw himself at life with no holds barred…
The exuberance of youth!
Next year I will travel to Nepal in both the pre and post monsoon periods climbing on two different expeditions, first and foremost to enjoy the experience. But the expeditions will also help prepare me for an attempt on Cho Oyu, the world’s 6th highest mountain peak, standing at 8,200 metres.
“And what about Mt Everest” TomO has asked.
“Do you want to climb it”
“Yes” I told him.
Prior to climbing in New Zealand’s Southern Alps he wrote me a note to say that one day he might be standing on top of Mt Everest with me.
I said to him “One step at a time”…
Explaining I am on 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 hopefully it will form part of the dream, the journey, to experience high altitude climbing, to see what I am capable of.
I went on to tell him that having dreams and aspirations define who we are and is part of the mosaic that is life itself.
Perhaps it is no more than a child’s feeling of wanting to follow in the footsteps of those close to them, to emulate them. But it made me smile to think that he is developing a line of thought that gives him the confidence to pursue his dreams, whatever they are.
As parents, we couldn’t ask for anything more, besides it would be wrong to dismiss or ignore…
I’ve always been a dreamer, and always will be – dreams come true if you believe in them…
I asked him was that truly a goal he would like to pursue and what motivated him?
“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 special”.
Janet told him there is plenty of time to think it through, adding that he will need to prepare for it if that is his dream…
Perhaps the enormity of the task is lost on him presently and we place no expectations on him whatsoever, but simply want to help him understand it is important to develop and set one’s own expectations of themselves.
But it puts to the test our resolve to support him in any endeavour he wants to undertake.
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.
“But if that time comes I will proudly walk every step of the way to base camp with you and will find the inner strength and courage to wait for news from the mountain, for after all, life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”