On Climbing Mountains

Of late, things have been evolving somewhat; from the inane and obvious, such as diet, to the more complex and frankly more interesting, attitudes. Experience, or the power and beauty of youth, becomes more obvious when you realise that you take it for granted; a failure to maximise one’s time, or energy as a person who is young and exposed to a plethora of opportunity is an intolerable waste, and once this dawned on me, I suffered something comparable to an epiphany, albeit in a more practical sense as opposed to a spiritual one.

Who wouldn't want to climb up there? (1)

So, in the last six weeks, I’ve been doing lots of things very differently than I had been before, for example, I’ve given up eating supernoodles for breakfast (or for any other meal), and instead, eat porridge made with skimmed milk. I’ve also taken to early morning trips to the gym; at seven-thirty am, instead of switching off my alarm and going back to sleep for four more hours, I’m on the cross trainer, or cycling, or something. I’ve found that the adrenaline kick that immediately succeeds the exhaustion is worth getting up early for. Without sleeping all day, there is far more opportunity to do things, and exposure to daylight naturally raises serotonin levels, making for a much happier person.

I think however, there’s more to this change than the somewhat superficial, in that I’ve been offered the chance to take part in a month-long trip to Africa next year; a climb up Kilimanjaro, all the way to the very, very top, volunteering with children and refurbishing schools (or something of this nature), and going on a walking or cycling safari through Hell’s Gate. The trip would give me the opportunity to see Kenya and Tanzania, and work with children, build some things for charity, and climb the world’s highest free-standing mountain. Research suggests that Kilimanjaro isn’t for the particularly weak-willed, and since I want to be able to say “I’ve stood on the summit of Kilimanjaro”, the opportunity seems too good to miss. The organisation of the trip itself will be something to add to a CV also; fundraising that kind of money, and seeking sponsorship is a practical skill. Overall then, it’d be incredible.

The trip has provided a little inspiration for getting up early and wandering around, thinking about acclimatising to a more normal “work-day” and eating much healthier food. It transpires that stereotypical student life doesn’t quite agree with me; but this element of student life, opportunities to travel, and so on, are very much my cup of tea. I’m glad there’s a goal that’s more substantial than ‘to look nice in a bikini’; there’s something much bigger, as well as the long-term health benefits of an attitude change.

There’s an awful lot to be said about mind over matter.


(1) http://www.safaris-tanzania.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Kilimanjaro-summit.jpg



The Realisation of Complacency

Today, I made an alarming discovery about my mental and physical states of fitness. Which led me to immediately vow that I would change; become more disciplined, fitter, and more aware of food groups. This however will require some commitment on my part; renouncing my deep and everlasting love of Pringles and Chinese food, and forming a wonderful new relationship with the cross trainer in the garage, the swimming pool, and going for rather long walks. It will be tough, but the hardest part to me at least, is wondering how it came to be like this.

When you realise that you have changed, both physically and mentally, you can only wonder when you stopped noticing this change in yourself; what happened to allow you to forget that you still exist as a physical entity? And more to the point, when did you stop wanting to do better? I think this is the worst part, to me at least, because I always want to better at something. I’ve been like this since I was a little kid. I’ve always wanted to look better, feel better, and do better than I did last time, and I think the problem is that I became complacent of myself.

People never do better if they are completely and perfectly happy; perfection, it would seem, does not come from happiness. It comes from relentlessly trying to do it better, no matter what it is; whether it’s making a perfect cheese sauce, being fitter, or getting better academic reviews, complacency does not lead to perfection. A complete obsession with perfection is how people grow. This is where the experts come from. They emerge from their libraries, for only an hour a day, and then they go back in. They do it because they feel as though they are not yet finished, and they, fundamentally, never give up researching, looking into new projects, and writing books, because there is always the nagging sensation in the back of their minds that they aren’t quite done yet. Nothing is finished, as yet.

Sometimes, you have to just drag yourself up a mountain. (1)

This is how I feel most of the time too; largely, I feel as though I have barely started, and therefore complacency at this point is simply idleness and laziness. Therefore, as of tomorrow, I will be implementing a new routine which will hopefully combat this complacency. I cannot abide stand to do nothing, produce nothing; so I will be filling my days with productive hours instead of catching up on television, and I will push through the inevitable barrier of pain, and hopefully, I’ll start to see the results within a week or so.

The human spirit is essentially what allows us to improve because we want to do better. There are people who do not have this desire to have everything; that is entirely their prerogative, and every individual is entitled to act as they wish. However, I’m of the disposition that says I have to do better.

Like I said at the very beginning of this blog, I want to be a writer. That’s all. I want to be good at what I do. So instead of talking about it, and dancing around the idea of being this person that I have fashioned for myself,  I guess I should just knuckle down and start.


(1) http://powerofpositivity.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/mountains.jpg