What started off as one podcast last September has turned into at least one a day. And so, I have listened to a great number of podcasts over the last 10 months. I find the knowledge that I gain from them inspiring and I find the questions that they cause me to raise within myself, about the world around me, and about others, exciting.
So, this past week the idea of how we take a hill came into play. The quote is something to the effect of “How you take a hill is how you approach your life”. I have heard versions of this quote before. I remember nodding my head in agreement and thinking, yes, this makes sense. But when I heard it again this past week, I actually stopped dead in my tracks and thought about every aspect of that statement.
This time around the quote vibrated inside of me. So much so, that as I took each of the hills on my runs since that day, I have thought about how taking the hill one way versus another could change the entire way you look at your approach to life.
So what kind of “hill taker” are you?
The “I don’t want to” – This type of hill taker won’t even let themselves attempt it. They psyche themselves out even before they start. The heartbreaking part about these kinds of hill takers is that they don’t even let themselves get past the point of wondering. They shut it down before the excitement can even build. Life is passing them by in a whisper.
The “start fast and then give up and go back down” – This type of hill taker is gung ho in the beginning and starts with enthusiasm, but as soon as it gets hard they give up and go back down. These hill takers know that there is something more to their lives. They are aware that they are meant for more but are so easily scared that they give up too quickly. Life is easier to be viewed from the sidelines but joining in fully is too much for them.
The “start fast and then peter out” – This type of hill taker is also gung ho in the beginning, but goes too quickly and will eventually finish, but doesn’t get to enjoy the experience because their head is down while trying to make it up the rest of the hill. These hill takers are experiencing life in little bursts but are unable to enjoy any of it because they are too overwhelmed with just trying to keep their eyes focused at what is immediately ahead.
The “fast and furious” – This type of hill taker goes fast from the get-go and makes it up the hill, but is too considered with speed to notice what’s surrounding her and when she gets to the top is too anxious to get down the other side that she doesn’t take a moment to enjoy the view. These hill takers are experiencing life but are going at it with such speed that they are missing out on truly enjoying the experiences. It’s as if they just want the experience under their belt and are not interested in what the experience has to teach them. They appear to be living from the outside view but in reality, are going so fast that they are simply going through the motions.
The “slow and steady” – This type of hill taker often has her head tilted down slightly so as to keep a steady pace as she focuses on what is just within a few steps ahead. She may or may not take a brief pause at the top of the hill as she advances slow and steady down the other side. These hill takers are trying their best to live into every moment but they are unable to let themselves fully let go and experience all that is being offered to them.
The “light and easy” – Now, this type of hill taker enjoys the entire experience. She is light on her feet, her head is up, her eyes are clear. She is able to take everything in around her and enjoy the journey up the hill, the view from the top, and the rush from going down the other side. Her posture is upright, her lungs are open, and she is aware that the hill is a gift presented to her, not an obstacle standing in her way. These hill takers are open to what life has to offer, and even if they are scared, they push themselves forth into it anyway.
If you haven’t quite caught on by now, the “light and easy” is the one that we should be striving towards. It’s not something that can be achieved with every hill that we take, but when we are lucky enough to experience it, it has the ability to change our mood, our outlook for the day, week, or year, our lives.
You see, it is through the hard and challenging things in life that we grow. It’s in those times when we lift up our heads and take something on by looking it in the eyes that we are able to really experience life. When our head is down, we are merely surviving life. We are surviving through the experiences, but not living into them and allowing them to become part of who we are. This periphery living leaves us lonely, unmotivated, and unsatisfied.
Sure, lifting up our heads and knowingly taking the hills that are available to us is difficult. They require us to push ourselves forward on our own and to not give up on ourselves, but if we don’t do this for ourselves, then who will?