In the past couple of months, I've been contemplating how it is that I've come to be the way I am. I take risks, I accept challenges and I rarely take no for an answer. I've broken up with boyfriends because they cannot accept my lifestyle or I feel like they've 'held me back'.
Today, on my local run to Tecolote Canyon, up and down the truck trails and home, I witnessed something that made me chuckle and kept my thoughts occupied for the next few hours. After my climb up the 3rd truck trail, a very steep rocky and clay/mud trail, with another downhill coming up, there was a boy, about 6 or 7 at the top. He immediately went to go see what was ahead in the trail and shouted back to his mom, "Mom, there's another one just like it and we're DOING it!" And with this little sister right behind him, she turned around and shouted the same thing!!!!! I thought it was awesome. It looked like she had brought them to the park to do some hiking and never expected to come across a hill this size. I'm certain the boy saw the hill and ran right for it with anticipation. The mother, about 30 ft down the hill gave me a look that also made me chuckle. It was as if her face was showing a million emotions. She was NOT enjoying the hill nearly as much as they were, nor as much I was. But her face was beaming with pride. She was thrilled for her kids to be powering their way up these hills and to be excited for the NEXT one.
Of course, these are merely physical challenges. However, those hills will someday be more difficult life challenges. Captain on a team sport, leading a debate team in school, taking the ACT, walking into a job interview, getting a promotion, proposing to your significant other, etc.
My thoughts went to Riley, my nephew. Recently, at age 5, (he's now 6), they went on a family vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains and Riley was told that he was going to the top of a mountain. They hiked all day, only stopping for short breaks and when the trail ended, he wanted to continue up the rocks! When being told he couldn't, he got frustrated and the magnificent mountain now became a stinkin' mountain. This even after he was told by others that he was the only kid up there! Congratulations to my sister Annie and brother-in-law-to-be James!
In addition to this, I thought about the recent Kilian Jornet movie we watched at the last ULTRA University event. As a very accomplished ultra runner and adventurer who was raised in the Pyrenees, he describes the 'summits' of his life. In the movie, they interview his mom and she mentions the time she first realized Kilian had extra endurance. He was one and a half years old and his mother took him and his older sister out for a hike. She said it became an 8 hr hike since he was so happy doing what he was doing, they just continued, all day!
My upbringing did not contain 8 hr hikes at 1 and a half years of age. However, in a recent electronic discussion with my mother, she said that a lot of what we did was dangerous. Like, running up sand dunes, hanging out in trees all day long, making trails in the woods with my dad and brother, etc. (I even accidentally hit my brother in the head with an axe once!) But, we didn't think anything of it!
Therefore, as never having been a mother, I cannot say whole-heartedly how I will feel in the future. However, my conclusion is that we shouldn't allow our children to feel restricted in their adventurous spirit. Most children have it them to explore and might even hike stinkin' mountains if given the chance; and their parents can keep up. Just as we want our youth to expand their minds and be respectful of others in their daily lives, why not do the same in their physical abilities? If we continue to nurture that need to discover new energies, new philosophies and new ideas, our society will only continue to grow.
This being said, I feel we still need members of our society to be more cautious. They are the ones that will put limitations on ourselves that we wouldn't otherwise. Sometimes we need those individuals to reel us in! :)
Thank you to those two kids this morning that made my day. I hope that someday I'll be able to witness you and your grand achievements once again!!