I've reached a point in my life where I don't feel much. Emotions fade clarity. I've had to train myself to not let feelings and emotions come in between what needs to be done. It has come from asking good questions and thinking. A lot of thinking.
Treks are free of distractions. There's nothing left to do but walk and dive in to your thoughts. I have recurring thoughts, reminders that I keep for myself. Without them, I would be aimlessly walking and won't get anywhere.
I hope you find one of these relevant to your personal growth.
Be a better parent
School and college will prepare my son to make a living. It's my job to not only prepare him to survive but to thrive. There are lessons I learnt in my 30's and 40's that I wish I had learnt earlier. He should benefit from my experiences.
Kabir will have his own set of challenges and learnings. But, why shouldn't I share mine with him and give him a head start?
So there I was, walking by myself from Chhukung to Dingboche. I deliberately let the group go ahead of me because I was full of emotions. We had just climbed Island Peak a day earlier and the high was still lingering around. Rarely do I get choked up anymore, this was different.
When that happens, I either have to write or record.
I pulled out my phone, pointed it to my face and recorded a message for my 5 year old that I will share with him in a few years.
"Do hard things. Find hard things to do and finish them. You will find that when you actively seek hardship, it won't be able to break you when it arrives unannounced."
Is this what I crave for the whole year?
A well made cup of coffee has a strong after taste. The intensity slowly reveals itself. Taking it's time to linger in your mouth. Staying persistently with your taste buds even after you finished a cup long ago.
Treks are the same. When I'm on a trek fighting my laziness, cold weather, aches and pains, I keep asking myself 'is this what I preach and look forward to the entire year? something isn't right.'
Yet, the moment I come back from a trek I forget the struggle and start planning a new trek. We all do it. Why do we this?
The satisfaction of completing something difficult doesn't come immediately. It comes after you've returned home and have changed as a human forever. That transformation is addictive.
Be patiently restless
I should have been more successful by now. Financially.
I lived in the States for 14 years and abruptly came back to India to start over. Gave up a job that although was extremely stressful would have led me to enjoy a very wealthy lifestyle by now. I didn't let my time compound.
My friends in the States who stuck to their path are wildly successful. Running million dollar businesses or high up in the corporate ladder. Fortunately, I'm not jealous and happy for their success.
Friends here in India are on path to make wealth. It didn't help that the first project I took on after I came back left me and my family in ten years of debt. Again, instead of envy I do my best to use this situation as a fuel.
But, it's difficult to stay true to yourself when things are not going as planned. What do I mean staying true to myself? I mean in deciding what to work on, who to work with and what am I willing to sacrifice.
It has taken me time to find the right balance where I can provide for my family, bring the debt down and experiment on my ideas.
On a trek, I tell myself to continue to be patient in the long term and restless in the short term.
Why can't I give up smoking?
I once quit smoking for 6 months. I quit smoking a month before I go on a trek every year. Sometimes more than that if i'm doing a challenge like #75HARD. I never smoke on a trek even when my boys are smoking around me. So, it's not like it can't be done.
I surely make up for it once I'm back home. I give myself the license to kill.
Cutting down doesn't work. Neither does finding an alternate like vape. It has to be done cold turkey.
Do I need to experience a painful trip to the hospital to quit?
How can I - an educated human, raising a child, taking care of the family, with ambitious goals gamble like this?
Yet, I do it.
It's just a game
I know we all have a job to do while we are alive. Sometimes we need to wear a suit and tie, sometimes more than we want to. On a trek, I remind myself to not let materialistic things change me.
Don't let the clothes you wear or the title you hold or the age you are make you shift away from your original self. Keep playing the game but know that it's all a game.
The biggest mistake you can make is to lose sight of who you truly are.
I will be the first person to jump and dance when a Punjabi song is played. I want to be the first person to take you out for drinks on your birthday and get drunk. I will cancel every important meeting for a chance to pick my child from school.
My real success will be the fact that I didn't let the inner child in me die whether I failed or succeeded.
Solitude leads to introspection. Make time for it, however uncomfortable. Have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for reading.