I glanced to my right and let out an astonished chuckle. Shifting in my seat, I looked right again.
The clouds had lowered themselves in such a way that they were somehow part of the sprawling, high desert ground, the northern Nevada mountains peeking out over top. They looked solid yet ethereal. Upside down. A fairytale landscape.
I wondered how many fanciful reasons I could come up with for this sight.
Even the clouds gained weight in 2020…
A giant sky troll got mad and smooshed them down…
A GROUND troll started weight lifting and pushed them UP…
The clouds were hungover, couldn’t get out of bed, and like seriously why are mountains such show-offs anyway…
The mountains were taking a shower and didn’t want road warriors like me to see their, ah, peaks and valleys…
The mountains were getting ready for a grand performance and the clouds were their theater curtain…
Maybe it was the monotonous driving; nine hours with little more than radio static to keep me company. Or the stress of the past year. Or maybe this was just how my brain worked. Either way, a surge of energy swirled around my heart.
There was magic in this moment. Not just because the sight itself was otherworldly. But because it catapulted me into my imagination, a place where time was meaningless and the more something made me giggle, the more valid it was.
Those moments were commonplace in 2019.
When I got back home, I stared at my laptop wallpaper, where I proudly displayed my vision board. A cliché exercise, to be sure, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t produce some of that mountain magic.
In fact, over the past few years, I’ve had to update my vision board regularly because the images on it KEEP COMING TRUE. Usually not in the exact way I pictured, but that’s how the universe works. Wishes are granted through chance encounters, strangers’ smiles, and saying “yes” when all you want to do is sleep.
2020 robbed us of many things, including some of those opportunities to bump into each other, smile, and say, “Yes!” But now the cloud curtains are parting and reminding us that the mountains and magic were there all along.
Wow, can you believe another year has come and (almost) gone? It flew by in such a haze of joy, stability, and stocked shelves! I’m so excited to share some of my 2020 highlights – and, gosh, I hope your year was as awesome as mine!
In January and February, good friends gleefully gathered for birthday parties, clothing swaps, tubing with drag queens, and snowshoeing…
This is going to be the BEST YEAR YET.
In March, I–OH MY GOD FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE WHA-? WHY? HUH? TOILET PAPER??
I, like many others, focused on what I could control.
I wasn’t worried about the calories because, hey, this would all be over soon and I was training for a marathon! Which wound up being steeped in cheers, medals, and merriment.
Speaking of, April also found me “celebrating” my birthday alone, surrounded by friends I found in magazine pages.
And then I hit a new low.
Once I realized the answer to my expanding waistline wasn’t in cauliflower form, I began weightlifting with a generous COVID bubble friend/former personal trainer.
Stacy, you say, “You made vegan mac and cheese 14 days in a row” like it’s a bad thing…
Feeling a little better immediately, I made the monumental decision to get bangs accept my first date in weeksmonths let’s not talk about it.
Quickly remembering why I don’t date, Uncle Jesse and I planned a series of hikes where no one would tell us they never called like they said they would because they were waiting to see if they could take someone ELSE out on a date that weekend (YES THAT’S A THING THAT HAPPENS).
We first tackled a spectacular canyon hike and had a great time both got burnt paws.
And then, a month later, just when we were sure things couldn’t get worse…
It would be many weeks before we trusted each other again.
Well, no matter, later in the summer, we scaled new heights during a hike that was supposed to have one of the best views in central Oregon!
For our next stunning hike, we climbed on our hands and knees for a half an hour and found a pile of rocks! I wondered if we would need them before the next toilet paper run.
“Is anyone using the Long Island house next weekend?” I typed, biting my lip. I proofread the email to my aunt one last time before hitting send. I’m sure she won’t mind…
My aunt owned a small, rustic family home near a bay that was one of my favorite getaway spots (and favorite places to paint without permission). It was the perfect place to hide my new secret.
I walked away from the computer and got ready for that night’s group cycling ride. Every Wednesday night, a few girlfriends and I would sweat through our padded Spandex shorts as an excuse to go eat sushi and drink wine afterwards.
That night, we went to one of our usual Asian fusion spots.
“May I please have two orders of the avocado roll?” I asked when the waiter appeared, my heart pounding.
When our food arrived, one of my friends glanced over at my plate.
“What, you’re not eating meat now?” she asked with a smile.
I gulped. “Actually…no.”
I cringed, waiting for the fall out. But Jules, I don’t know anyone who loves bacon as much as you. What about cheese? Butter? Smoked salmon?!
My friends tilted their heads. “How come?”
“I watched this documentary,” I began in a rush, feeling my face crimson. “And I saw things I can’t unsee.”
They nodded as if to say, “Fair enough,” and the conversation quickly pivoted.
That was it…? I inwardly sighed with relief and stopped worrying where the conversation would land.
While holed up in Long Island for the weekend, I read every plant-based cookbook I could get my hands on, tinkering in the old kitchen with things I’d never tried before. Tempeh…huh. Flax seeds…all right.
It was terrifying.
Just a few years earlier, I’d been vacationing in that same small Cape Cod-style house with my now ex-husband, wondering if we’d have kids and whether we’d ever be financially stable enough to take that plunge.
In 2016, unaware that I was straddling major life events, I hadn’t quite learned to embrace the unknown. With each spare second, I turned my vegan epiphany into a research project, reading every plant-based blog under the sun and even enrolling in a related Masters program. I quickly created a framework and milestones for “being vegan,” like completing grad school and signing up for a plant-based meal plan.
Being in the middle of change is a little like being in the eye of the storm. Things are swirling so quickly around you that you can’t even process the chaos. But suddenly you’re staying up past midnight, again, triple-checking that you locked the front door, and obsessively picking out the perfect picture frame for your desk. Control begs to be heard and yet, counterintuitively, the only way to quiet her cries is to let her go completely.
If recent years (especially this one!) have taught me anything, it’s that very little ever goes according to plan. The beautiful thing about accepting this, and relinquishing control, is that you start to get excited about the unknown. Well, gosh, how amazing might things be, beyond my wildest imagination? Who KNOWS what chance meeting or conversation I might have tomorrow that changes the ENTIRE TRAJECTORY of my life…
Since I know what we focus on expands, I know if I focus on the infinite possibilities, I’ll always have something to look forward to. And if I focus on the endless opportunities of an uncertain life, well, then…
(The Future) Mrs. Justin Timberlake
(A slightly altered version of this post will soon be cross-featured on my new baby/business venture, PlantBasedPoint.com, launched in partnership with Robin [more on her soon]! Huzzah!)
If you read last week’s post, you already know that my social media presence lives somewhere between Eepsville and Creepytown, USA. Instead of letting strange lurkers bother us, though, why not capitalize on their incredible…creativity?
I mean, let’s say you had access to all of the search terms that ever led people to your blog. Would you just sit on this information?
You would turn that shiz into t-shirts and sell them in your pretend blog store PRONTO!
And then give your fake paying customers the EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK!
BEHOLD [what happens when you spend too much time on Zazzle]…
Oh, what, you don’t believe me? Have a peek:
But wait, there’s more!
And what I plan to add to my own private collection…
“Sometimes I put up a story [on Instagram or Facebook] just to see who’s watching.”
“Wait. Tell me more,” I stared at my friend.
“Yeah, you can totally see who views your stories [that disappear after 24 hours]! It’s a great way to see if an ex is still creeping on your social media.”
As my friend explained more, it made sense. Unlike with normal feed posts, stories capture who has viewed them, so you actually get some insight into not only the total view count, but into exactly which followers have been checking out your stuff. In other words, anyone silently lurking on your social media, never liking or commenting, is CAUGHT. Watching you.
As a long-time blogger, I’m well aware of the depressing statistic that only 1% of readers ever leave a comment. 10% might like your posts, if you’re lucky. So even though you can see how MANY people visit your site [via behind-the-scenes analytics], you never know WHO’S reading.
This was brand new territory.
Over the past few weeks, as part of building my [alter ego] The Vegan Dollar YouTube channel, I started regularly posting and sharing stories on my associated Instagram account. Right away, I noticed a familiar face checking out every. single. story. Sometimes within minutes of hitting publish.
Wait. Didn’t he follow my account like a year ago? I thought that was an accident…I guess it wasn’t! I clicked on his profile image. His account was private. I didn’t follow back.
BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE INSANE.
BECAUSE HE DUMPED ME SIX YEARS AGO.
AND WE HAVEN’T SPOKEN SINCE.
Yup. That’s right. The infamous fellow who texted heart emojis just hours before asking for his apartment key back is now watching every single story…on my vegan brand account…
What. The. Actual. Fudgcicles.
I immediately snapped into research mode. After about an hour, I stumbled on a post that referred to this exact phenomenon. “Orbiting,” the article called it. (And apparently I was late to the scene.)
With this new phrase in my back pocket, I dug deeper. Unfortunately, I soon discovered tale after tale of people -women, especially- with experiences just like mine. In one case, the woman reached out to her peeping-Tom-ex-who-had-dumped-her-years-ago. “Hey, I noticed you’ve been watching my stories,” she messaged. “What’s up? How are you?” The guy never wrote back and immediately blocked her.
Is this okay? Are we okay with leaving it at that? Forgiving stalking just because it’s (arguably) passive? And furthermore, putting the onus on the stalked?
Does having a public social media account give implicit permission for any and all lurking? Are we signing a contract that says, “Sorry, pal, you asked for it”?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve creeped on a page or two in my day. Truuuuust me. And there are certainly instances where exes can remain friends on social media, even if they need to take an initial pause after a break-up. But consistently checking out the content of someone you dumped years ago and with whom you haven’t exchanged a single word, like, or comment since?
Are we really okay with that?
What about a family member with whom you might have had a fallen out, but then notice they’re watching every story of yours on Facebook, while refusing to have an actual conversation?
Ten years of (mostly) sheer tomfoolery. From mustaches to missing thumbs to Made for TV specials, it might be easy to think I naturally see the humor in everything. That the universe winks upon my charmed world and I wink back.
But the truth is, THIS BLOG makes me see the humor in everything. It forces me to consider how I WANT to be and to turn that into reality.
I need that. We all do.
Aside from needing to force myself into seeing the lighter side of life, I also need to force myself OUT of being, well, a bit of a…tightwad. As part of my project manager nature, I like to track money. Think about money. BE IN CONTROL of money.
In order to combat this miserliness, I make myself donate money on a regular basis – to various causes that align with my values. Because despite my practicality, I believe money, just like everything, is simply energy. It flows if you let it flow. And if you believe something is scarce? You’ll experience scarceness.
In other words, the more worried I am about money, the more I make a habit of giving it away.
It…sucks. I feel stupid. Reckless. Pissed off.
And then, quickly, always, I feel…wonderful.
I hesitate to share the following story because it seems like a major #humblebrag, but, well, once you read it, you’ll (hopefully) see that I JUST HAD TO.
Before I fled the recent wildfires here in Oregon, I made a guilt-ridden, combat-Scrooge-Jules donation to the Red Cross, hoping to help some of those faceless heroes fighting fires and other altogether badass things.
My donation was for $1,111.
Because, you know. 11:11. It’s a lucky number full of all kinds of mysticism, and if you’re like me, you’ve always made a wish whenever you’ve caught the clock at that hour.
With that donation under my belt, I made the long drive from Oregon to New Jersey to stay with family for a couple of weeks. I worried during the entire 3,000 mile drive. Was I hand-sanitizing well enough? How would my home state feel after all of these months, especially during a pandemic? Were my friends in Bend doing okay with all of that smoke? Did I make a big mistake by not getting a t-shirt at the world’s largest truck stop?
When I arrived in New Jersey, a strange series of events ensued – all during three consecutive days.
First, my sister paid me back for a COVID-canceled trip: $150.
Next, my father wrote me a check for another family trip that I’d made a deposit for (but had mistakenly thought he’d already paid for): $933.
Then, I went out to (outdoor, masked) dinner with my two best New Jersey girlfriends, Mary and Jenn. Mary drove and after we parked, I stepped out of her car and looked down.
“Uh, Mary, there’s a bunch of money in your car…” I said, my voice muffled behind my mask.
I grabbed a wad of $5 and $1 bills that were wedged between the passenger door and seat. I hadn’t noticed them when I’d gotten in. Mary furrowed her brows.
“I haven’t even driven this car in months [because of the pandemic]. I have no idea where that came from.”
“I think it looks like more than it is because of all of the singles…”
I counted the bills. $28.
“Well, perfect, our tip is covered,” Mary smirked.
We joked about it until our dinner bill came. I quickly calculated a 20% tip.
“Holy shit you guys, a 20% tip comes out to exactly…$28!”
Mary and Jenn were already onboard Jules’s Woo-Woo Bandwagon, so we simply laughed about how cool and “typical” the whole thing was.
The next day, as I quietly sipped my coffee on my parents’ living room couch, I suddenly thought, “Huh. All of this money I’ve unexpectedly stumbled upon probably amounts to close to what I just donated to the Red Cross…”
Right now I’m staring down a bright orange, symmetrical pumpkin. “CARVE ME,” he’s whispering seductively. As I consider this new blank canvas, I can’t help but think back on all of the carvings I’ve done over the years decades. Sure, there are the actual carvings…
But then there’s the other kind, too. The pathways -relationships, careers, goals- we carve out for ourselves one stroke at a time. Wouldn’t it be great if we always knew the outcome when we set out with starry eyes and orange-handled knives? Or if someone gave us a book of patterns and all we had to do was choose our favorite one?
What if pumpkin carving lessons were actually life lessons we could learn from? Oh wait…
LESSON #1 – Give Yourself Room to Breathe
Have you ever cut open the top of your pumpkin only to realize you can’t actually fit your hand inside to scoop out the guts? But you keep trying anyway? Several minutes later, with an aching paw, you face the inevitable and carve a larger hole, hoping it doesn’t infringe on your carving territory.
Lately, I’ve realized how often I say ‘yes’ to things only to later have to backpedal with profuse apologies and gut-wrenching guilt. Instead of knowing ahead of time that I need more space -in order to thrive, grow, and create- I dive into commitments and invitations blindly, not wanting to disappoint anyone. In the end, I wind up bruised and frustrated. The beauty of making this mistake so many times, though, is that I’m starting to learn just where the line needs to go.
LESSON #2 – Prepare to Laugh at Yourself
If you’ve ever carved a pumpkin, you’ve probably had that “oh sh*t” moment when a crucial piece falls inside or your crescent moon winds up looking more like a misshapen croissant. Right then, time and effort (and maybe a few bucks) feel wasted.
I have an independent streak as wide as Bob Ross’s fro, especially when it comes to pumpkin carving. Only a Jules original will do. Which means…my patterns usually suck at least a little. But I don’t care. Because they’re mine.
Bigger is always better, right? Yeah, maybe when it comes to your Halloween candy haul, but definitely not when it comes to pumpkin carving knives. Those itty, bitty, jagged knives you find inside the $4.99 carving kits are actually the best! They’re sharper than a vampire’s fangs and handle detail really well.
Last winter, I was extremely depressed. For months. By the time I started to turn a corner, a global pandemic slammed us. This year, I decided to arm myself with a fully loaded toolkit to combat those winter blues. (It also helps that I won’t be kicking off the season by moving during a ridiculous snowstorm.) I’ve got plans to see family for Christmas (unlike last year), a backlog of exciting creative projects, and a car that doesn’t slide down icy hills. Bring it, Winter 2020.
LESSON #4 – There’s ALWAYS a Messy Part
Before you can even start carving, there’s the decidedly sticky process of ripping out your pumpkin’s guts. I hate this part. Everyone hates this part.
An hour later, though, the gooey gore is a distant memory as you sit cross-legged in your darkened closet, shouting for the nearest family member to come admire your handiwork.
This life lesson is one of the more obvious, but it bears repeating. Just like the old “caterpillar into a butterfly” metaphor, anything beautiful that I have ever carved -in pumpkins or in life- has only come after “the goo stage.”
LESSON #5 – …And There’s ALWAYS a Light at the End Bottom of the Tunnel Jack-o-Lantern
What’s that? You took your lopsided croissant moon and turned it into a full moon? Your one-fanged vampire has decided to embrace his flaws? Your black cat looks creepier without a tail? You did it! You figured out life!
Because your life IS a work of art.
Very little ever goes according to plan, even when we have the perfect tools, the perfect pattern, the perfect pumpkin. But if you can roll with it? Your (jack-o-lantern) light will shine brighter than them all.
Babs’s voice came through my car’s speakers loud and clear, surprising me. I wasn’t expecting such strong cell service in eastern Oregon.
“Yes, but I’m, ah, driving east because OREGON IS ON FIRE,” I replied.
“Oh my god, Pop and I were watching on the news. It looks awful. Is Bend safe?”
“Yeah, so far, but the smoke reached hazardous levels this morning and I was like, ‘Nope.’ I’ve been driving east for 90 minutes and it’s still smoky. It feels apocolyptic.”
“Wow…well, you know, you could always come here.”
I hadn’t dared suggest it. Not only was “here” still 3,000 miles away, in New Jersey, but my parents were firmly situated in the vulnerable population group when it came to COVID-19. Even though I hadn’t seen another soul in over a week, was it too risky?
“I was thinking about it!” I laughed. “I’m gonna stock up on wine at Trader Joe’s in Boise and keep you posted.”
That night I made it past Salt Lake City and my fate was sealed: New Jersey or bust. Was it selfish? Crazy? Would state border police stop me and shove a giant Q-Tip up my nose? Send me packing back to Oregon? Put me in one of those cute little jail cells like on Once Upon a Time?
I hadn’t seen my family since early December. Before moving to Bend, Oregon in June 2019, I lived mere minutes from my parents, sister, niece, and nephew. Game nights, family dinners, and weekend outings were standard fare.
After a stressful move to a new apartment last November during a massive snow storm, battling severe winter depression, and then, you know, a GLOBAL PANDEMIC, my priorities had fully shifted from “greatest global good” to “DEAR GOD SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME A HUG.”
I put pedal to the metal as I burned through 11 states in four days. It felt amazing to have a plan. To work towards a tangible goal. To learn every country song currently topping the charts. To head towards the promise of human interaction – under the same roof! I basked in the glow of those formless, wordless things that turn “existence” into “life.” Hand sanitizer, masks, and pushing doors open with sweater sleeves were tiny prices to pay for the return of hope.
Over the following month, I filled my family love tank to the brim.
“Wow, you drove all the way back to Bend with your mom? How did that go?” several people asked after hearing that I made the long return trip from New Jersey to Oregon with Babs in tow.
“You know, any other time maybe we would have gotten on each other’s nerves, but it was great. I just kept thinking, ‘What if this is the only time I ever get to do this?'” I answered.
A new perspective had settled in. A calm acceptance that this might be as good as it gets. A project manager and lifelong planner, I was finally starting to make decisions based on, “What makes sense today?” The ultimate answer, of course, has always been the same -follow love- but the approach was different.
To many of us, “love” equals “security,” and that means planning and preparing to care for our families, communities, and environment in the future. Heck, that’s why I’m vegan. But what if…we can’t? I’ve spent nearly four decades with my eyes firmly planted on the horizon; sometimes a source of comfort, but more often, anxiety.
To operate under the seemingly morbid idea that tomorrow might be worse -or never come at all- brought a strange sense of peace. It turns out that decisions made by asking, “How do I follow love and joy today?” are pretty damn solid.
Even from 3,000 miles away, I could hear the wry cackle that always brewed beneath my best friend’s words. I adjusted the phone.
“Oh, you know. Situation normal.”
We laughed loudly.
“Honestly, what’s the right answer?” I asked.
“I think you just gave it,” she replied.
It was April 24th. I had been social distancing since March 7th. ‘I was born for this,’ I joked in the beginning. A classic introvert, I’d spent years coming up with convincing excuses to spend Friday nights at home, alone, mainlining peanut butter straight from the jar. ‘I just feel bad for all of my extrovert friends,’ I added.
Throughout March, a persistent, medium-level anxiety infused even my most treasured pastimes. Like other single, middle-class, white women in their 30s, I obsessively consumed the news, processed carbs, and every quarantine-themed offering on Netflix. As I flipped between State of the Union addresses, my 401k balance, and Kate Winslet with an American accent, I couldn’t decide which was most horrifying.
“I’m loving this time,” one of my most extroverted friends confessed in an email in the beginning of April. “It’s fascinating to me how taking away the option to go places and DO things lets me just be present and focus on all the other stuff I love to do.”
I stared at my computer screen. “Loving this time”? This was the guy who needed to install a revolving door on his guest room. This was the guy who helped convince me to move 3,000 miles away, from New Jersey to Oregon, to enjoy the community he and his wife single-handedly created! What is happening?
A few weeks later, my phone lit up with a text from The Second Most Extroverted Person in Oregon.
“How are you holding up?”
“I’m two seconds from drawing a face on a volleyball,” I fired back.
“LOL I’m actually getting used to this,” she replied.
Once again, I stared at the screen. Seriously? What is HAPPENING?
Zoom chats. Virtual marathons. Stress baking. Spring cleaning. John Krasinski.
A roster that would have made me salivate in February now looked a To Do list from hell. (Okay, John Krasinski still looked pretty good.) As I stared at my dog, my lone companion and tragically underpaid therapist, I felt my Queen Introvert crown slide from atop my head, hitting the ground with an unceremonious thud. If a throne crumbles in quarantine and nobody’s there to hear it…
By September, my world was, quite literally, on fire. Record-breaking forest fires raged throughout California and the Pacific Northwest. Entire towns destroyed, lives lost, families displaced. As the air quality in Bend, Oregon reached “hazardous” levels, I cast one last look at my dusty crown and smoke-filled apartment before jumping in the car and flooring it.
“Sooo, all we have to do is get right up there,” I said, pointing my camera towards the mountain looming in the distance.
“Easy,” Stefanie replied, grinning.
I was already breathing heavily from the first two miles. This central Oregon trail clearly had no intention of showing any mercy.
While the trailhead sign passively proclaimed the summit was six miles away, it didn’t specify the elevation gain during those six miles: 4,900 feet. 490 flights of stairs. Half of which was loose sand and lava rock, meaning you took at least two steps for every one step forward.
As Stefanie and I slogged up South Sister mountain this past Saturday, pausing often to catch our breath, I started singing Gnarls Barkley. After that, Maroon 5.
“Songs keep popping in my head,” I explained, realizing that this always happened when I wanted to separate my body from my mind.
Eventually I fell silent, but there was one song that just wouldn’t quit, even after we summited: Justin Timberlake’s “The Hard Stuff.”
Anybody can be in love on a sunny day Anybody can turn and run when it starts to rain And everybody wishes all the skies were blue But that ain’t the kind of love I’m lookin’ to have with you So give me the hard stuff
The kind that makes you real I’ll be there when the storm comes ‘Cause I want the hard stuff When they’re throwin’ sticks and stones We can cut each other to the bone I’m never gonna give you up ‘Cause I want the hard stuff (hard stuff) Yeah I want the hard stuff (hard stuff, yeah)“
Sure, my big toenails were currently undergoing a messy divorce with my feet, but you know what was really hard? Actual divorce. Sure, that celebratory beer was now looking to make an encore performance, but you know what was more nauseating? Telling everyone I loved in New Jersey that I was moving 3,000 miles away. Sure, my head was throbbing thanks to a faulty alarm and zero caffeine that morning, but you know what was even more painful? Losing my first real mentor to cancer.
I welcomed pain complemented by sweat, jokes, and lukewarm water. The kind of pain whose reward was almost always immediately apparent.
“I feel so lucky that I have strong enough legs to carry me up a mountain,” Stefanie mused, as if she could hear my thoughts.
“I know it sounds morbid,” he had begun, “But sometimes during a hard run, I’ll think about what it would be like if I couldn’t do this.”
As Stefanie and I slipped and stumbled our way back down the mountain, we gave a breathless hello to a handsome, wiry man perched on a dusty boulder. He, like everyone else, was taking a much-needed break during the final, grueling ascent.
“Not bad for a 45-year-old with two broken hips,” he grimaced.
“Wow,” I replied. I hope he doesn’t mean they’re broken right now. “Yeah, this is probably the hardest hike I’ve ever done!”
“I’ve done harder,” he said.
“Don’t say that!” I teased. “We were feeling really good about ourselves!”
As we continued downward, I thought again about the subjectivity of “hard.” As the above AllTrails reviewer so aptly put it, “Super hard for one person might be pretty doable for another.”
“Stef, do you know I’m closer to that guy’s age than I am to yours?”
Stefanie looked confused for a moment.
“Yeah,” I went on. “You’re 30, I’m 38, he’s 45.”
And it doesn’t matter at all, I thought.
Even on a trail notoriously described as, “THE HARDEST F@^*#*@% THING I’VE EVER DONE IN MY LIFE,” there were people of all ages passing us, including mountain goat-like runners shouting gleefully as they slid on piles of lava rock, “This is actually better than if it were all sand!”
So what really makes something hard? Is it simply a matter of perspective?
And once we achieve that higher perspective, do we always maintain it? Does scaling one mountain mean you’ve, in essence, scaled them all?
Or do we simply return home to a newer, hopefully slightly improved version of ourselves, now ready to find a taller mountain to climb?
What’s the “hardest” thing you’ve ever done? Would you do it again?