You know, as much as I’d love to rant about the maybe-not-secret-anymore secret hold on the porkbusting legislation in the Senate, or about the futility of letting ideology get in the way of doing business, I saw one thing today that has really made me start doing some serious planning.
To be specific, I saw this picture. In The Agora’s Joshua Clayborn and a friend. Standing on Uhuru Peak.
The summit of Kilimanjaro.
Oh, to dream a wonderful dream.
I am no complete novice when it comes to altitude. I already have three Fourteener summits under my belt (Including Mt. Whitney, going from Hell to Heaven as a Boy Scout. Which, for those who have travelled that path via Death Valley, actually should be called Hell To Hell With Brief Moments Of Purgatory.) and desire to check every single one of them off of my Things To Do Before I Die List.
But Kilimanjaro, in all her solitary majesty, is something that I have only dreamed of being able to do. As is Everest. Aconcagua. Denali. Vinson.
Perhaps it is time to change that from a dream into a goal.
For my upcoming age is a repeated digit year. Some belief systems, including some of tribal origins but not including plain-jane numerology, hold that the age where the tens digit is the same is the ones digit (11, 22, the-sequence-of-numbers-that-I-dare-not-type, 44, 55, 66, etc.) are particularly meaningful.
So I practically must use this upcoming year to finally get off my butt and do something about that dream. And perhaps quite a few other dreams and plans of fanciful flight that I have.
(Please note that I was actually being kind to myself during that one. My first write of it said “raw, swollen, corpulent, but-my-chair-doesn’t-fit-anymore ass.” Much nicer this way, see? Anyways, now Robert has seen me in person and would call me on the fact that my butt really isn’t all that big. Practically skinny, in fact. It just feels big when I start to try to get over that nagging little problem called negative inertia.)
This dream, like all that eventually come to reality, will start with small steps. Right now, I am without… ummm… independent transportation. (Read: Me no have car. Car go fast. More fast than feet. Me have feet. Me need car.) And to be able to afford one, I need a better job than the current will-that-be-paper-or-plastic McJob I currently hold.
And that will be the one thing I need to actually get moving again. To finally overcome that damn negative inertia that has plagued me for so long.
The list is simple. A better job. A car. Drop back into college. Ten of the Colorado Fourteeners per year. (Including Longs Peak via one of the technical routes.) Those are all short-term, however.
For the long term, the goals are to earn an advanced degree in one of the three fields that I am either interested in and/or good at (International Relations, Philosophy of Aesthetics, and Socio-Cultural Anthropology), find a nice community college someplace, and teach. Pure, plain, simple. No limelight of a major university required. Just a prayer for students who want to learn.
And perchance, before the age of 55 is complete, my battle-cry will be even more simple:
Seven Or Bust!
Some of them hold only majesty in my eyes, but always do they hold respect. The largest of them all… To be perfectly honest, Everest will probably be my tombstone if I make the attempt. Any of the Seven Summits can kill you on a bad day, but Everest doesn’t even have to try hard.
Should I not make the goal to conquer all seven, I only pray that it is because the body is broken, not that the mind is lazy. The first I can handle. The second one is death to all dreams.
All of my dreams have already been dying for too long. Far too long.
It is time for them to live again. All of them.
I drop back into college in January. One goal ready. A lot left to go.