Two weeks from today the winds will quiet down, the stars with shine and a redhead will climb a mountain she didn’t know existed until her marriage blew away.
I’ve heard about movie night in birthing class. The panting and heavy breathing and screaming that does not involve lust but labor. When pregnant with the Tall Dude at 40, I chose to not attend a child birth class. My rationale was simple – women throughout history have birthed children, without the help of doctors and nurses and epidurals. Or movie night. I also did not want someone else’s experience to be imprinted on me. My carnival of hormones would have used it as a How To guide. It felt better to just show up.
I doubted my decision when the nurse looked at me disapprovingly and said, “You are going to hyperventilate if you breathe like that for the rest of the labor.” A labor that went from zero to mach madness in minutes when I was induced. Which sounds like seduced, and that’s where the comparison ends. In ten seconds she showed me how to breathe and then said, “You didn’t take the class, did you?” I lowered my head for the second time. The first was when the 70 year old anesthesiologist asked how much I weighed before jamming my back with the rhino needle.
Really? You can’t look at the chart? You have to remind me at this stage of the weight I have gained and will need to lose? And require that I say this number out loud in front of my husband? If you weren’t standing between me and relief I would propel you out of the room with only the power of my glare. You would shudder, and your bladder would empty, little aged man.
Had I taken the birthing class it might have altered the experience. I could have made assumptions, planted seeds of fear, got caught up in the energy of others. Instead, I chose to waddle through the ER and into the maternity ward with a clean slate of mind. Labor hurt. Of course. But I focused on the payoff – to hold the child we created that lived inside me for 40 weeks. Disapprove if you must, Nurse, love, but this baby is coming. No class will start or stop the process.
It’s that methodology, or modus operandi, that I’m throwing on my back along with 60 pounds of gear for the climb of Mt. Rainier. Today I checked the weather forecast for the mountain. Last time I do that. And only the second time I’ve done it since registering for the climb. The wind speed at the summit today is 90 MPH. See, who really needs to know that but the guides? Certainly not me. International Mountain Guides will get me up and down the mountain. Just as my nurse got me through labor and delivery.
Climbing Mt. Rainier is a goal that was not on my radar while married. I watched people climb mountains. I would say, I love Mt. Everest, not I am going to climb Mt. Everest. What happened to me between then and now? What is it about game-changers like infidelity and divorce that flip the on switch for BHAGs? (Hugs and high fives to my cousin for that acronym, which translates to Big Hairy Audacious Goals.)
The Pocket Call was a Ready, Set, Go! experience, jettisoning me into a place where I need to physically be out of my comfort zone. What is the intent? To prove something to myself? To feel special? To say, ‘I can and I do!’? I’m not feeling that.
As my marriage progressed over the course of 15 years I slowly shut down. I chose to not be there. I wasn’t inspired. I wasn’t present. I thought, Someday, this will get better.
Relationships don’t just get better. How ignorant of me to think that possible. And most people don’t have a revolving list of BHAGs. It often takes a forced pivot in life to awaken within us something that we slowly put to bed as we aged. As we became distracted by the daily white noise. Thoughts of being an astronaut or an archeologist…or a mountain climber…are tossed aside as we attempt to lighten our load. They’re replaced by making ends meet and keeping up with the (Oh, God just writing that made me think of the “K” word) pressures of life that we feed and grow with a diet of worries and fears.
Before you know it we’re numb.
And then things like infidelity and divorce sizzle our nerve endings and we’re zapped back to life. If we choose to be.
We were meant to climb mountains all along.
“Because it’s there.” (Sir George Herbert Leigh Mallory, New York Times, 1924)