Last week I took a soul nurturing trip to my beloved Spain. My kids are in Hawaii with their dad, so I got to spend time with family and friends and do as I pleased….like a single, non-parent might enjoy.
When I lived in Madrid, I was in my 20’s and loved the hustle and bustle, the night life, and energy of it. But my single mom, multiple job lifestyle is enough hustle and bustle for me at 40. My friend in Valencia offered me her country home, nestled in the valley between the mountains and the sea, surrounded by vineyards and orange, almond and olive groves. It is unquestionably my favorite place on the planet. I chose to trade a weekend of dicotecas in Madrid, for meditation and yoga by the pool
Upon my arrival, with every intention of peace and tranquility, my body must have still been vibrating on the techno/strillex frequency of Madrid and I got the wild idea to climb the mountain behind the country house. Mind you, it is probably technically described as a large hill, but for a Floridian, it was a verifiable mountain.
My older brother is the hiker. He would have probably analyzed the terrain a little more thoroughly than I did. My dad would have pulled the geographical surveys before heading out. I just pulled on my yoga pants and running shoes and headed out and up. There was a road leading to the foot of my mountain, but the path quickly ended at a cropping of pine trees and prickly bushes and rocks. I was determined to forge ahead, questioning the intelligence of the excursion, but continuing on. Puncturing my ankles and continuously removing thorns from my yoga pants, (note: lycra yoga pants act as magnets to those cantankerous burrs and provide as much protection as Saran wrap) I panted my way up the 60% incline, consoling myself that at least NordicTrack has advertised that climbing an incline burns 378% more calories than walking alone. At least if my legs were red and swollen and itchy, they would be at least a little bit firmer.
When I arrived at the top, the view was breathtaking. Worth every battle scar; a jigsaw mosaic of the vineyards an orange groves and haphazard little towns. I took out my iphone to take a panoramic pictures, circling a top a rock in a way that would have made my mother and baby daddy cringe at the unrecognized danger to my person, and what I saw only made me laugh; one of my infamous and loud deep belly laughs. On the backside of my mountain was a perfectly worn path, leading straight to the top, free of trees and rocks and thorny bushes.
I know it is ridiculously cliché to analogize climbing that mountain with turning 40, but cliché’s are cliché’s because of their inherent and obvious truth, so I am going to do it anyway.
My life up to this point has been about doing it my way; figuring it out as I go, but certainly with a determined and unrelenting purpose to make it to the top. I have no intention of coasting through the next phase of my life, yet arriving to where I have in this part of my life has given me a different perspective. My experiences and wins and failures are like my first trek up that mountain. Maybe now however, I don’t have to make it so difficult, just to prove something.
On my second day, I chose to climb the path more travelled. Multiple times I found myself at a fork where I had to chose a direction, with no other information or indication as to which way to turn. Surprisingly, I ended up atop a different little mountain, with an equally beautiful and exquisite view. No need to spell out the analogy there.
Maybe now I can chose paths laid before me, not resisting or struggling and fighting to somehow “make it.” Maybe I can relax and breathe and know that view will be breathtaking, as long as I am kind to others and myself, I live and love fully and accept it all, with appreciation.