Do You Have Your Own Mountain To Climb?

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When I was in my mid-thirties, I became slightly obsessed with climbing Mount Everest. I had been given the book Into Thin Air and I couldn’t put it down. Before long, I was reading everything about the tallest mountain in the world and the tales of people who had climbed/attempted to climb/lost their lives climbing this beast of nature. I cajoled my friend in the media business into getting me a VIP pass to the opening of Everest in IMAX directed by David Breashears. I went to the question and answer session armed with a list of questions as if I was about to purchase my gear and hop on the next plane.

My husband found my fascination humorous. “When are you going?” He would ask whenever I spewed out weird facts that I had learned about Everest. There were many nights, after putting my beautiful toddlers to bed, organizing the scattered toys in the living room and throwing in the fifth load of laundry of the day, that I wanted to answer him “on the next plane.” But it wasn’t that simple; I was a mother with responsibilities – a job, a house and commitments — and I didn’t have the extra $50,000 needed to embark on this once-in-a-lifetime journey.

I never charted exactly when my burning desire to climb the most difficult, dangerous and majestic mountain in the world fizzled, but I think it was around the time my father became ill. His death was so quick that it left no time to say a proper goodbye, but offered a lot of room after to feel the weight of grief. The space in my head that was once filled with a Mount Everest fantasy became crowded with thoughts of sadness and loneliness. He was the parent who understood me. He was the one who gave me the best advice. He was the father who sent married me Peanuts-themed cards which contained a twenty-dollar bill, so I could buy something just for me. The fearlessness I felt before he passed away was gone and it took a long time for me to feel the least bit of joy again.

In the next 60 days, both of my children will graduate from college and enter the working world in two different cities. My novel, which sits on my computer in need of revision, needs to be published once and for all. I have embarked on a new partnership and a new venture. Although Stacy and I know what to do to make Living the Second Act successful, it is still a monumental and scary undertaking. We are putting our dreams out in the open for the world to see. There is both a vulnerability and electricity about starting something new. There are hurdles, learning curves and days of wonder. I imagine all of these feelings to be ones that I would have if I ever made it to Mount Everest.

Two decades ago I dreamed of taking a plane to Nepal, meeting my guides and fellow hikers and entering into a very elite world where no one can predict the outcome. I loved the idea of being challenged both physically and mentally by nature. I wanted to feel what it would be like to climb in the toughest conditions and actually try to make it to the top. I wanted to do something that was out of my comfort zone and out of character.

Soon I will witness my twins receive their college diplomas. I have launched Living the Second Act with a woman whom I adore but have yet to sit down with and share our first cup of coffee. The idea of climbing Mount Everest seems like a distant memory, but also feels like something I have been metaphorically doing for a long time. I have been challenged at every turn, been highly focused and felt severely defeated. I have taken steps forward only to find that I had to wait out a storm before I could move again. I have felt fear and victory, mental and physical exhilaration and exhaustion.

So as Stacy and I embark on our journey with Living the Second Act, we hope you will join us as we scale a new mountain together. We plan to offer fresh and original content about life in the forties and fifties with important tips about entering life’s second act. We can’t climb to the peak without your help. Subscribe today to Living the Second Act, find us on Facebook and Instagram and spread the word and be a part of our movement, our own personal Everest.


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