One of my favorite expressions in the mountains turns out also to be a pretty nice metaphor for moving through what I hope is the middle of my life. One of my first friends in Colorado, Brent, introduced me to mountaineering, and we’ve been up several mountains together, including several 14ers. Brent has a contagious energy, and the expression that many of us who’ve hiked with him will readily recall is this (paraphrased):
“Right now we’re here looking over there, but pretty soon we’ll be over there looking back here!”
There is excitement built into this statement, and hearing Brent say it would unfailingly bring smiles to faces.
Out in the back country, the route sometimes eluded us, and we didn’t always make the summit due to weather or time constraints. But whether or not we opted out never diluted our perspective: Here we are, outdoors and among friends. We appreciate being in this place (“right now we’re here”) and we are excited about where we are headed (“pretty soon we’ll be there”).
I find this has a likeness to the perspective that brings me closest to rapture on a day-to-day basis: I am grateful for the place I am today, and I am excited about the goals toward which I’m moving. (In fact I am particularly blessed: I live in a place I deeply enjoy, I interact daily with people whom I love and respect, and I have easy access to music, food and other sources of stimulation that stretch and entertain me. Even more lucky: I get to define my goals and choose what kind of future I wish to work toward. Not all people in this world have these gifts, and I’m grateful).
In some ways it doesn’t matter whether the goals are reached – it’s possible that unforeseen circumstances may divert me – but to feel empowered to move toward a future state of my choosing, while appreciating my current state, this is the nexus for me.