But it’s my party and I can cry if I want to... right? Thanks Lesley Gore.
The truth is: when I realized my twenty-sixth birthday was drawing near, I started to dread it.
I wasn’t dreading it because I’m getting older and closer to death or hitting the backside of my twenties.
I was dreading it because I wasn’t ready to let 25 go.
The first half of 25 felt like climbing the last leg of a mountain. It was as hard and scary as it was promising and exhilarating.
The last half felt like the picnic at the top, breathing in fresh and electric air while savoring the view and each well-deserved bite... just being.
So what’s next? I started to wonder. Is down the only way to go from here? Is disappointment my destiny for 26?
Fuck that, I said out loud in my car to the universe. I’m staying 25.
Turns out the universe had other plans for me... hence the inevitable arrival of my 9,496th day on Earth. As I drove to Rinse Cycle this morning feeling pretty much the same as I did on my 9,495th day on Earth, I finally came to the answer that I've been working to find all month: that mountain I climbed? It wasn't real.
It was just a metaphor I made to bring understanding and context to the reality of the hard, new, exciting, rewarding, terrifying, brave, adventurous, and colorful things I experienced over the course of the year.
Those of us who live and work in the space of self betterment really love those mountain metaphor... and can you blame us? It works. It makes sense. Mountains are big and scary and frustrating and mysterious.... but they're also wonderful. They one of the better symbols for the process of risk and reward and for the journey of life.
One of the things we love to say at Rinse Cycle when talking about the challenges and the uphills (or, you know, the literal resistance hill climbs) is that this is your mountain. It's not your neighbors and not the instructors. Your mountain is as big as the things you are facing in life that, as you climb through them and over them, get you that higher point where you want to be.
So here's where all that left me:
If this is mymountain...
and this mountain isn't real...
then I get to decide what that mountain looks like and how it works.
I can enjoying turning 26, entering the last half of this decade, and start climbing a whole new peak with as many starts and stops along the ways as I choose.
If I could ask you all for anything for my birthday, it wouldn't be cookies or carrot cake or a new helmet for my bike or a trip to Greece. Those things are great and, let's be honest, I'll take them if you offer them to me but here's what I'd really love: let's put to bed once and for all this idea that every rise has to be followed by a fall. Let's be done telling ourselves and letting our friends believe that all of the good things they're experiencing are going to inevitably followed by something that brings them crashing back to earth. Let's collectively work to trust in the natural ebb and flow of every orbit around the sun where, yes, shit gets really hard and heavy at times but where it also feels light and beautiful and full sometimes at the same time. Let's make our own mountains with terribly confusing rules of physics and pathways that aren't always linear or clear but that keep us moving in some way or another.