Failure in the Box

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You probably have no clue, but you have a problem. In fact, it is the same problem that I have. It is not a new problem, but one that has existed for quite some time.

If you think you know what the problem is, then you are probably mistaken. Very rarely will you find a person who even knows how to correctly identify the real reason why the problem exists. This problem is not just an isolated case though. It causes continued failure practically every time that it makes an appearance.

At this point, I should probably give you fair warning that the real problem is going to shock you. Therefore, I will wait until you are sitting down comfortably. Grab a coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or a stiff drink.

Ok, here we go.

The real problem is YOU!

If you are thinking inside the box, then you are the problem! If you are not developing a mindset outside of the proverbial box, then you are the problem.

Before you get upset, please let me explain.

When we started our lives in kindergarten, certain things were expected of you and I. We followed along with the plans from the establishment. At the end of the year and with much pomp and circumstance, we were graduated to First Grade. Woohoo! Parties, ice cream, cake, and presents made us feel special, but we were just like everybody else.

Each year a new grade came and went. Elementary school finished and moved us into junior high, and then into high school. Each milestone produced another graduation and we again felt special. However, more likely than not, we were just like all the others. We were NOT different.

12th Grade — Senior Year — Class of ???? — Standing there in cap and gown, you and I insisted that we were going to be the graduating class that changed the world. But, we were all the same.

This has been drummed into us all of our lives. Are the teachers at fault? Yes, they must take some of the blame, but at the end of the day, they face the same problems that you and I face. They are a product of what they were taught to believe, namely, that everybody else is the problem.

Our lives in front of us, we either go to learn a trade, go to university, or begin a menial job. Each day, we continue to add to the reason why we are a failure.

Business school, success seminars, #1 best-selling books all contribute to the sad reality that YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. You have allowed yourself to buy into what we are spoonfed every day.

Still not sure what I mean. Let me give you a few examples.

“Be like Mike!” — The problem is that YOU will never be Michael Jordan. YOU will never even be like Michael Jordan. YOU cannot be Michael Jordan. YOU cannot play like Michael Jordan. Why? YOU are NOT Michael Jordan.

Take a person like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi, Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, or any other famous person that you can think of. YOU will NEVER be any of these people.

So, why get stuck in the box of thinking you can be? If you think that YOU can succeed by becoming just like somebody else, YOU will fail miserably. YOU will remain the real problem. YOU will continue to lack the strength to stand out from the rest of the crowd who are doing the exact same things that you are doing.

Even in your talents or skills, YOU will never be like somebody else. There was only one Beethoven. One Michelangelo. One Buddha. One Julius Caesar. One Michael Jordan. One Bill Gates. One Princess Diana. One Michael Jackson. One Will Smith. One _______________ (fill-in-the-blank).

To the delight of my adoring fans, there will ONLY ever be one ME.

Ultimately, there will ONLY ever be one YOU!

Stop being the problem and locking yourself into the boxes that you have built. NO matter how hard you try, and no matter how long you try, you will never be somebody else.

If you going to be successful, you need to break free from all the boxes that you have allowed yourself to be put into down through the years. You need to remind yourself that your talents and skills are yours alone.

However, there is a danger that YOU must avoid. If you follow this simple principle, you must work diligently to encourage others to do the same.

Personally, I hate “How I Did…And How You Can” type books. The real reason is because I do not act, think, speak, listen, or behave like the person who has written the book. Even if you and I followed every single step just like the “successful” person has done, we will ALWAYS reach a different conclusion.

The entire point of this blog is this –

If you want to write, then write, but don’t try to write like everybody else.

If you want to play sports, have a career, whatever you want to do, then just do what you have set your heart and mind to do. However, don’t imitate others because you are TOLD that is what you MUST do in order to be successful.

You have the freedom to choose your path. You have the availability and the responsibility to think outside the box. You have the choice to blame others for your failure or to accept that you are not where you want to be because of YOU.

Relish your new freedom.

Be different.

Be unique.

Let the real you shine in a way that NOBODY else can duplicate, because nobody else is JUST LIKE YOU!

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The Bonfire

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From what I had heard in my short life, John Steinbeck had written a book about mice and men.

I hated both. Mice and men had sought to ruin my life, and it was for that reason that I was on the run.

Leaving my brief stint in a factory in upstate New York, I fled in the middle of the night for parts unknown. Without realizing it at the time, I instinctively knew that I would never return. Family and friends were forsaken and the only way that I felt I would remain safe was to never look back.

The decision had been made for me and yet I could not recall how or where the danger started. It seemed in my early life I was destined for greatness. Not meaning to appear puffed up with pride, I was however proud of the fact that I was at the top of my class in school.

Catching a ride with a few truckers, I finally arrived to where I thought I would call home. There was no way, even in the modern internet age, that my enemies would ever find me here. However, I also knew that I would need to remain extremely vigilant. If the mob came after me here, I would not be able to hide a second time.

Thinking back about that fateful day, I knew I should have contacted the Witness Protection Program. But what good would that have done, I reminded myself bitterly. All the alphabet soup organizations in America were out to bring me down just like the mob I had left behind.

Blending in, I found a new home in suburbia. The place was a little small, but at least I started making friends almost as soon as I had moved in. Most of my neighbors were sweet, while others I tried to stay away from. Regretfully, I had to learn the hard way that most of them were trapped in the existence of their own self-importance. I chose to remain as anonymous as possible.

Ominous clouds began to overshadow me late that fall when I remembered that Halloween and Thanksgiving were right around the corner. Something was wrong and I just could not figure out what the problem was. It started when some of my neighbors started disappearing. In the midst of the all the turmoil though, nobody bothered me.

For a short time things began to calm down, and some of my friends called one evening with an invitation. It sounded like what I needed to relax. I agreed and a week later, I went outside to find a roaring bonfire already keeping the night warm. Not being much of a drinker, I declined the offer of a free drink and just stuck with some of the food that others had brought. I must admit that I felt a little guilty not bringing anything myself, but I also knew that not everybody liked my kind of food.

It was a split second look, but I knew that I had been made. I thought I knew all of my neighbors, but this particular fellow had a wild look about him and the more I stared I realized that murder was on his mind. Thinking back over everyone I had met, I realized that this was not a neighbor at all. Shocked, I realized that the man had somehow already killed some of my friends.

If I tried to leave, I would just bring attention to myself, so I stayed as still as possible. In my mind though, I was already planning my next escape. How could they have found me? Why could I not escape the carnage of my past?

Shuddering, I recalled the flashing knives as they had brushed against my skin. Some of colleagues had not made it out alive that fateful night, and now it seemed that mayhem was going to return to my new quiet neighborhood.

Across the flames, the man stood to his feet and stretched. His nonchalance may have fooled all of my neighbors, but I knew he was coming for me. I turned to run, but I could not seem to find the necessary strength. With resolute abandon, I turned to face my foe, and noticed that my neighbors had fled into the darkness.

Picking up a weapon, he grinned menacingly and spoke in a haunting manner.

“My friend, you thought you could escape, but there is nowhere you could run where I would not have found you. You should never have tried to escape!”

Resigned to my fate, my life flashed before my eyes. He raised the weapon and with a quick lunge, its point ran right through the middle of my body. Collapsing, I caught myself falling toward the fire as my strength failed me completely.

My foe looked toward one of his friends and I heard him speak one last time as I descended into the abyss that never ends.

“Hey Trenton, these huge marshmallows are really tasty. Would you like one as well?”

Written in response to Warrior Writers Prompt #25

A Drudge First?

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Ignacy Paderewski is not a name well-known in many households today. He was born in a city now located in Ukraine.

However, he was hugely instrumental in seeking the favor of President Woodrow Wilson to help Poland became an independent nation that was not part of the Russian Empire.

However, for those who know music well, the name Paderewski is synonymous with the playing and composing of classical music.

At just 18 years of age, and as a mark of the skills he had particularly in playing the piano, this man was offered the opportunity to become a teacher at the Warsaw Conservatory, which is one of the largest and oldest music schools in Europe.

Over the course of his life, he gave many concerts around Europe and the United States.

It is said that at one concert, a woman was enamored with him and his playing. After several minutes of this unwanted attention, the great pianist is said to have stopped her and said, “Madame, before I was a genius, I was a drudge!”

Each of us has the ability to do what we want with our lives.

However, many of us do not avail ourselves of the opportunities that present themselves. We might want to take advantage of them, but we are not willing to be a drudge first.

For example, I might say that I would LOVE to expertly play an instrument, or that I would LOVE to speak fluent Mandarin. The reality is that I do not play an instrument with a great degree of skill, nor do I speak fluent Mandarin.

The question is not whether I have the ability to do either of those two things for I have the ability to take lessons and learn how to play.

The real question is this

What am I willing to give up in order to become good at what I say I love?

A person who wants to be the best in their business will spend time researching and studying the lives of those who have been successful.

A person who wants to play an instrument must be willing to turn off the television and spend hours mastering the scales and arpeggios.

A person who wants to become fluent in a different language needs to find others who speak that language and learn the nuances of the language as well as the culture.

The truth is this. While I say that I would LOVE to expertly play an instrument, I do not really WANT it bad enough to make the necessary sacrifices.

I am not willing to become a drudge in order to be considered a genius in the field of music.

It is particularly true in the West that we live in a fast-paced society and culture. We want instant gratification. Why take years to learn scales and arpeggios if somebody could wave a wand and magically impart such a skill to us?

I am glad that there is no such wand for we would not have great appreciation for the skills and years required to become a genius.

If we want something bad enough, we MUST learn to make sacrifices. We MUST be willing to learn from others. We MUST stop trying and thinking that shortcuts will still allow us to become a genius.

Squibble Squabble

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Call me old-fashioned.

I’ll wait.

Ok, do you feel better now? What’s that? Oh you want to know why I am old-fashioned?

Well, I am glad you asked. Allow me to share a few thoughts that I had while shopping at Sam’s Club earlier this afternoon.

After avoiding some classically rude drivers who were either in a hurry or who had run out of blinker fluid, we arrived at our destination. Signaling that I was turning down one of the parking lanes, another individual coming from the other direction seemed upset. They had the wrong turn indicator on, tried to speed up, and then almost rear-ended a pickup truck. Speeding past me, I lost sight of them as I turned down the parking lane and found a place to park.

Going inside, the normal noise associated with shopping in a warehouse greeted the ears of my son and I. For the most part, I hate shopping — with a passion. Sometimes, I choose to go to the store though so my dear wife does not have to always face the maddening crowds.

Today would be no different. Two people took a cart from the lady at the front without a word of greeting or a thank you. We had been inside the front door no more than 3 or 4 seconds when she pulled a cart up for us and apologized for the delay! Wow, that is some service. We thanked her and wished her a good day.

A quick shopping excursion and we use the Sam’s Club app. This app is so cool. It allows you to scan EVERY item (including produce) as you put it into your cart. Then, when you are finished, you can pay right on your phone with your credit or debit card and walk right out the door.

Have I ever told you how much I hate shopping? Well, if more stores had apps like the one I use at Sam’s Club, I might just have to change my mind. However, I digress.

Stopping at the Deli though is an inevitable delay. After all, no son in his mid-20’s would EVER contemplate walking out the door without making a stop for a hotdog, a polish dog, an ice cream, a soda, or whatever he felt he needed to tide him over between “second breakfast and elevenses.”

And this is where the problem started.

Walking around to find an empty table, there were only about 3 out of 20+ tables in use. I planned on going to the far end. Skirting the outer edge, a handful of kids almost ran me over. One of them pushed my cart out of his way as he held a small puppy in his arms. There was no parent with any of these children. The next few minutes involved one of the older kids on a pair of shoes that have roller wheels on the heels. None of these children were more than 8 or 9 years old.

The puppy let out a few squeals and squeaks as his holder squeezed him, almost dropped him, and then placed it off and on one of the tables. Did I forget to mention that these are the tables located in the Food Court?

My son brings some food and the couple sitting next to us makes several loud comments about the dog being in the food area while the little boy’s older brother continues to skate around the front of the store. Not once did he say anything to the workers or to the customers that he almost ran over. Incidentally, one of the managers stood at the front and never said a word to the boy even when he almost hit her at least once.

The children finally sat back down and a woman showed up with cups and food. The next conversation is not repeatable or printable in my estimation. Together, the mom and her children engaged in a rather foul conversation peppered liberally with vulgar swear words. The puppy just sat on the table and looked sad.

On our way out, I asked the cart-checking gentleman about the store policy regarding pets. He informed me politely that while he could not do anything about it, Sam’s Club has rules that clearly state pets are not permitted in the Food area. In fact, if you do not have a service animal, then the animal is not permitted in the store at all. I asked him why he could not and he replied that only management can say something, but only if they feel like doing so.

This brings me to the main point of my post.

Our society has degraded to the point of ridiculous foolishness. Rules and principles of decency are no longer upheld. The parents have no control of their children because they have no control over themselves. Parents, like the mother in question, have zero tolerance for anybody but themselves. Her attitude and potty mouth reflect a lack of respect for others including her own children. Hearing F-bombs from the lips of children, including one who was only three or four, is abominable.

The managers of the store refuse to say anything though because we live in a society where many do that which is right in their own eyes. If you confront a problem, you are liable to get cursed at or berated or maybe on a really bad day, you will be threatened with a lawsuit for daring to uphold the rules of the store.

However, the problem does not end there. Those who refuse to obey the easy rules or the common decency guidelines of life will eventually have no problem breaking bigger rules and even the law. Parents who think they are entitled to say and act however they want in public with zero regard for others is teaching their children to do the same and worse.

When I was growing up, if my siblings and I (at that age) had dared to be so disrespectful to others, at least half a dozen adults would have called us on the carpet, the manager would have been called to give us a good talking-to, and then we would have been disciplined when we arrived home for disrespect to others and for bringing disrespect to our parents.

One of the reasons that I hate shopping so much is not just because of the crass commercialism that inundates every aspect of the human mind and spirit. However, that is another reason that may just get a new blogpost soon.

The real reason I hate shopping is because I get sick and tired of seeing mamby-pamby, lazy parents being hit, mocked, or berated by children who have never been disciplined.

Part of the problem with the latest generation is that they have never learned the meaning of the word — NO!

We have taught our children through the years what we were taught as youngsters. When a child is told “NO”, it is their little spirit that is rebelling because it is what is in their hearts. When a child is 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, and sometimes even older, they are not bringing any wisdom or coherent debate to the table when they are told “NO!” Further, when a child does not learn what “NO” means before they can walk and talk, then the parent will be in for a rough ride.

However, the reason why the latest generation does know the meaning of the word “NO” is because most of the Gen-X and Millennial generation that has given birth to the latest generation never learned what the word “NO” meant. They feel entitled. The world OWES them, and sadly, when the world delivers a hard lesson that nothing is owed, then the child/adult takes it out on those around them.

History will reveal that this is probably one of the saddest generations in modern existence. Niceties, pleasantries, and good manners are almost as extinct as a two-humped Bactrian camel.

Is it possible to turn this around? Yes, but it will take a long time. People will have to stop being afraid that they are going to offend everyone and anyone by what is said. Common decency still requires us to look out for others.

In fact, for being a so-called Christian nation, we fail miserably for Christ Himself gave two commands. First, love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and body. The second is like the first, love your neighbor as yourself.

There is no third commandment to love yourself. That is a worldly philosophy that is driven by a selfish, worldview that no longer has God in view. An extension of the problem seen in the world today is the playing out of this humanistic philosophy. The world keeps telling you to love yourself more before you can do something for others. In turn, this destroys the responsibility each human has toward others.

To conclude, I was not upset at the children. I told my adult son that I felt sorry for the children for the way they were being raised. I told him that I was sad that their mother had no control over her own little children because she obviously had no control over her own life. As a selfish, self-centered individual, she is raising her offspring to be just as selfish or worse.

More to come…

My Cabin in the Woods

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HT – Cabin in Bavaria, Germany

Mine!

All mine!

The path led straight to the door of the cabin that I had built with my own hands. Years in the making, the outside of the cabin was smooth while the interior was elaborate. Yet, the smoothness of the exterior hid the truth of how much work had gone into making it what it was today.

Each log was meticulous, but it had not always been that way. For that matter, neither had the interior. With not much effort, I could remember the day that I started building.

The day was dreary and snow lay all around me on the ground. My fingers numb from the cold, my heart though was warm and content. However, the feeling changed the moment I started down my path for the day. Every step became a burden on what should have been a sun-drenched journey.

The path was ordinary and plain. Each stone looked as though they had been worn smooth by those who had walked before me. Yet, as I admired the trees and flowers that graced each side of the path, I could not help but wish for a smoother walk. The look of the stones was deceiving for they were hard against the feet. If the truth were told, the stones were painful and I longed for a place to rest.

That first journey on the path was not without its dangers, but I could not see anything that would have required hesitancy on my part. Onward I walked toward my destination. I was but a few steps into the woods, when I realized that I could not return the way I had come. Vines had grown up behind me and pressed me forward. Reluctantly, I took my next steps toward the unknown.

The further I walked, the more I longed for respite. One day, the pain became unbearable and I stepped off the path into a clearing that seemed to miraculously appear. It was the right size and instinctively, I understood that it belonged to me. I am not sure how I knew that, but the growing darkness that threatened to swallow me alive forced me to make a decision. In some ways, it was made quickly, but it had actually been a long time in the making.

Grabbing my tools, I cut my first tree. My inexperience in building created an almost instant dilemma. The logs I tried to fashion were worthless. The wood was too soft and it had not been treated correctly. Every attempt to notch the logs and build a wall only frustrated me. The cold wind blew and my logs blew over with little effort. They would never serve to offer protection or warmth on the cold nights of the winter that lay ahead of me.

I would eventually learn the right way to build my cabin. In the beginning, I did not see the need to spend time building it for occasionally the sun would come up. I soaked up its warmth like a sponge in water, but the days became darker and longer and I knew I must hurry.

Before long, my building progressed at an amazing pace and the results were astounding. Regularly, I would look at my hands and ponder what they had created. My long-term goal was not to live permanently in my cabin. Yet, the more that I completed, the more I longed to remain at the end of each day.

Finally learning which trees were of the right building material, I hand-crafted every log. As each piece was moved into place, I began to consider how I should design the interior. What furniture should I construct? Should there be pictures on the walls and trinkets on the bookshelves?

Just as another winter storm began to pummel my cabin, I placed the finishing touches on the last wall. Just in time, I mused as I sat content in what my hands had built. Anybody looking from the outside would not have thought the cabin was a masterpiece, but it was to me.

Strange as it may seem, I had but two windows to look out. From my vantage point, I could watch the path in both directions. My clearing was big enough to even observe the skies for coming storms. Those who walked the path might find my cabin, but I had taken this into consideration. From a distance, you could not see my new home. Truthfully, if you were on the path that ran just outside my cabin, you would still not see it. The only way to know that it existed would be to take time to observe and examine the oddities of my clearing.

Should a person walk past, they might have noticed the light in my windows. Only by looking inside would they have even noticed where I lived. It was not a thing of beauty to anyone but me, and I loved it.

The storms raged day after day, week after week, but I remained secure and warm. Each day I would start a new fire with the kindling and logs that I had cut and stored meticulously. Looking from my windows, I began to realize that the storm would never end. Darkness descended and I was startled to the reality that I had forgotten to build a door. Or, had I?

Inside my cabin for the long winter, I could not remember each phase of my building going up. How could I have forgotten a door? The walls were firmly in place, and every day I spent that winter was spent arranging all of my belongings to the point where the cabin was comfortable.

Looking out at a nearby path, I tried to remember the walks in the sun and the warmth on my back. My memories struggled though to recall the wonder of Spring and I thought that I would never enjoy life with those who walked by me. They seemed uninterested in building their own cabins, and rarely did I see anyone that might have been interested in visiting me. Nobody seemed to want to get close to my clearing, much less my cabin, so in my cabin I remained.

As winter progressed, I still looked out my windows, but I did not care for what I saw. All that I needed was in my cabin. Sadly, I never noticed that the lights I had built were growing dim with each passing day. The fires I built no longer produced the warmth that my body needed. I grew colder and I knew my days were numbered.

My cabin had long become what I thought was a safe retreat, but I longed for more. My tools lay dull in the corner and I could no longer remember how to use my hands to build otherwise I would have tried to build a new door. I wanted somebody to come visit, but nobody would. My cabin was well-hidden, built as a way to escape the hard, rocky paths.

Lying on my bed, the storms raged around me. Closing my eyes, I slept through the night never realizing that the fire and the lights in my house had gone out. There was no fuel left for in my time spent looking out the windows, I had not seen my supplies dwindle to nothing.

When I awoke, maybe I could invite somebody over for dinner. It would not be easy for them to look through my windows for time had already brought dirt to their surfaces. If a person had walked by, they would have seen the lights flicker beckoning for somebody to come by and visit.

The long night beckoned and I accepted the call. It was not what I wanted, but I no longer had a choice. There was no escape for what I had built for the doors of opportunity had long been sealed over.

As the night grew longer, I felt sleep coming to my eyes and body. For too long, I had struggled to stay awake, but tonight would not be that night.

*****

“Mr. & Mrs. Jones, I am afraid I have some bad news. Your son has been racked with depression for years. The authorities found a number of medicine bottles scattered throughout his home. We found a note though that you may read when you are ready.”

Harold finally spoke up, “Officer, do you know how he passed?”

“Mr. Jones, the medical examiner concluded that he seemed to give up on life. The depression that he battled simply destroyed him and he died of a broken heart.”

That night, together, the older couple sobbed as they read Joshua’s final words.

Dear Dad & Mom,

My path began like any other person. You cared for me and protected me, yet I recall the day that I was called to step out by myself. From my first day at school, I was the smallest. I was never popular no matter how hard I tried. None of the other children probably meant to be cruel, but they were. The rides on the bus were agony, and the playground was a place of torture. At first, it was not every day, but it soon became a problem. The teachers never stopped them and I was too afraid to tell you.

Each day that passed required an incredible effort to wake up and take the walk again. I longed to return to the beginning, but the clock on the wall does not permit backward movement.

One day, I found a place that I could escape. Nobody ever bothered me, and the longer I stayed in my retreat, it became easier to build the walls that now surround me. There no longer remains a door to escape, and if there is, my eyes cannot see it.

Now that I am an adult, the bullying and the depression remain. I thought that high school and college would be different, but the windows to my soul simply clouded over as each storm battered my life. It seems that there is no escape but to the cabin I built in my heart and mind.

Soon I will sleep and I will no longer fear the storms. The storms will be behind me forever. I know that this knowledge will devastate both of you, but know that this is not a personal attack on you. I just wanted somebody to find me, to hold me, to love me back to the reality that is the world around me. There is so much that I could have seen, but all I desire is to sleep.

The fire is growing dim and the lights in my windows no longer light the path to my door. If you are reading this, you will know it has been forever extinguished.

Goodbye with all my love,

Joshua

****

Written to those who battle depression and the pain of bullying every day. You are not forgotten. Don’t give up. Allow others to see the real you in your eyes which are the windows to the soul. Welcome change and help others to see the beauty of the life cabin you have built.

Originally for Writing Prompt #23 at Warrior Writers on Medium.Com

Free Solo

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El Capitan!

Located in Yosemite National Park, California, this granite formation reaches over 3,000 feet from base to summit. A popular location for those who enjoy rock climbing, it is also the featured backdrop of a new upcoming movie. This movie, Free Solo is from National Geographic and is the story of Alex Honnold.

Personally, I am not afraid of heights, but watching the trailer for this movie made my stomach churn. This young man, who is 33, climbs without ropes or any safety equipment.

Simply put, if a free solo climber slips, they fall to their death. There are no second chances. They must get it correct or they pay the ultimate price. Free solo climbing is a dangerous sport to be sure, and many of those who have tried have died in pursuit of their chosen hobby.

Ironically, the word “Yosemite” means “killer” in the language of the Miwok tribe, and it is this national park that holds the holy grail of rock climbing.

While the climbing of El Capitan strikes fear into the hearts of many, I believe that it also represents the path of life on many levels.

First, like rock climbing, life is not easy — for anybody.

Second, rock climbing offers no guarantee of success. Our lives are no different. There is no guarantee that you will be successful in any aspect of your life. Even our next breath is not guaranteed.

Third, rock climbing requires skill, dedication, and perseverance. It would be easy to take your first step onto the wall and then quit, but it takes much more than that in order to accomplish your goals. Life is no different. Some choose to quit before they have barely started. Allowing life to skate by them in the fast lane, some can become lazy.

Fourth, rock climbing has different degrees of difficulty or levels that can be achieved. The path of life has peaks and valleys, but it forces us to determine the difficulty at which we will make the ascent. For example, a person who is good at science may choose 8–10 years of difficult education in order to become a skilled surgeon. Another individual may take up a trade to become the best worker they can be, but it still takes work. One path is not any better or any worse for any particular person; however, what you do with the path does tell what kind of a person you truly are.

These four aspects reflect why rock climbing can be compared to the path of life. However, there are also aspects of rock climbing that are not the same in life.

Some choose to climb with safety equipment and others choose to climb with no equipment. For those who are successful on the day of their climb, they can go back and attempt to climb the mountain again. If you make a mistake, you can learn from it. Rock climbing allows you to try different routes and learn from the mistakes of your previous climbs.

Life is different. You will never have the opportunity to go back and redo any second that has passed. A cross or angry word spoken in haste can never be retrieved. It is impossible to reverse the clock in order to change a decision made foolishly or wisely. While it is possible to recover from an error, you cannot undo the fact that the error was made in the first place.

For example, if you are speeding and get stopped by a policeman, you cannot undo the reality that you were speeding. You can allow your error to change your habits in the future and thus keep from getting another speeding ticket, but you cannot redo the actual error.

In conclusion, I plan on watching this new movie, and yes, my heart will probably stop a few times as I watch Alex succeed in his lifelong ambition. However, every new handhold or foothold that he finds will give me renewed strength to remember that it is possible to achieve the goals that others think you cannot reach. I will remember that the granite walls of life are meant to be climbed — one small bit at a time. Easy parts and hard parts will not change my direction unless I give up.

If I do feel like quitting, I will try to remember that there is beauty at the top of each peak. I may not see it while I am in the valley, but when nothing obstructs my view at the top then I will know that I have completed my course. I will have little that I will feel the need to regret.

My El Capitan awaits. Time to continue the climb!

The Call

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lamppostBlood adorned the warrior as eternity loomed. Life’s final flicker caressed her leaving only a shadow.

Approaching the solitary edge, truth reflected her heart’s whiteness making death’s blackness diminish. No worries caused her lonely steps to sway for none could travel with her. Looking back held no desire, for her work was complete.

The unknown beckoned again. Memories swirled like clouds, but there were no regrets.

Lifting her foot, she needed no encouragement although tears like stars surrounded her.

Beyond, the undying light called.

She closed her tired eyes…

“Nurse, I am pronouncing death at 11:57. Three minutes to midnight.”

In response to Writing Prompt #20 — A story in 100 words.