Of hills and aging

One of my favorite metaphors for aging is likening the march of years to a challenging mountain climb. The initial approach to the mountain through green meadows, across babbling brooks, somewhat sheltered from the winds to come. We could stay here forever, but time has other plans for us. Beginning the ascent, our bodies feel the strain of baggage we have accumulated and we begin to question if it wouldn’t be wiser to lighten our load. Gaining our second wind, kicking into a strong steady pace we have mastered along the way. We are covering alot of ground quickly. Then a couple of surprise stumbles awakens us to realize the terrain has become rockier, steeper, the real winds have picked up, physical bodies feeling fatigued, bigger efforts to breath, not to go away again. The support of our climbing buddies critical for our journey gives us moments of questioning as they become less in number. But the amazing view elevated above those meadows, treetops, feeling closer to the heavens with every step pulls us back into the journey at hand. The physical pain of the journey is now a constant, yet dwarfed by what we are able to now see. “Tis the Journey” they say, those words becoming more real with every plateau of height gained. At times we focus on what is ahead of us, yet the top of the mountain is hid from view behind a veil of clouds. As the journey continues our pace slows, each step placed with more wisdom than effort, we savor the journey ever so more aware of the importance to stay connected to those still with us who give us security and strength to continue. Our focus shifts from getting to the top to savoring the journey not wanting it to end. Those steps that we had one time felt were just necessaries to obtain our goal, are now each a treasure and although thankful for our journey so far, hopeful for each step further we gain.

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