Tuesday, August 16, 2005


This weekend, as I was walking down from one of the most beautiful places I've been in my life, walking through mountain meadows full of wildflowers, looking out over a turquiose lake, glaciers, and mountain range after mountain range fading off into the summer haze, driving my friend Sarah crazy with all the photos I was taking, one word kept popping into my head.


I am no longer afraid or intimidated by things that used to intimidate me. I have so much more confidence in myself than I used to have, and am doing things I woulnd never have done ten or even five years ago. It's still a journey, but I am overcoming.

Back in high school, I was never the most confident person. Sure, I was outgoing, friendly, and wacky (still am!), but I never seemed to want to try new and challenging things. Today, I thrive on that: trying new things, things I never would have thought I'd do. This even applies to expanding what I eat. In the past two years I've tried all KINDS of new foods. Thai and Indian have are two of my faves (mmmm.... I can't believe waht I was missing!)

But more than that, it's been in the active stuff that I've felt this sense of overcoming. I was not in very good shape through high school. I hated PE, cause I was never very good at soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc etc etc, and having to play them with all the jocks - both guys and girls - jsut made me feel terrible! And the "fitness runs." UG. Terrible. They turned me off of running. Hate hate hate. This translated over to other things, too. I just didn't think I could do certain things.

Now I'm proving myself wrong, and I love it!

Take jogging, for example. I don't go that often now, but I go, and hey, it's not terrible. I remember totally amazing myself that I could jog for 24 mins without stopping, and still not be totally gasping and wheezing for air. I think maybe 5 was my high school record. High school fear: overcome.

Then there's me and my used-to-be picky picky eating. Just ask my parents. Eep. Well this July I went to a Sikh wedding, and I recall thinking as I was eating my meal that, hey, I didn't even know what half of the dishes they were serving were... if this were me a few years ago, I would have hardly eaten anything. But now? Who knows what this is... let's try it! Childhood picky-ness: overcome.

But I think the biggest things in my mind have been the Grouse Grind and Hiking Black Tusk. I took PE 12 Lifestyles, a course where we did all kinds of fun things like golf, rock climbing, snowshoeing, etc... not the typical sports stuff you'd normally do in a PE class. I enjoyed most of those activities, cuase I didn't feel like a complete doofus doing them. However, in the second half of the year, I couldn't take the course anymore because of a conflict with a different course I needed to graduate. I was secretly VERY happy about that, because the first outing of the second semester was doing the Grouse Grind (a 2.9 km/1.8 mi trail with an elevation gain of 853 m/2800 feet up the side of Grouse Mountain). High school self told me, "You could never do that." Well this June, I did. Twice. And I didn't even die! ;) I'm going to start going again regualraly once school gets back in, cause there are a few teachers from my school who go at least once a week. I'm even looking forward to it. High school fear: overcome.

And then there's Black Tusk. In high school, I was one of those nerdy, "I want to take every course possible" types (past tense here may be debatable!). I graduated with almost twice the minimum graduation credits I needed. I was kind of thinking about taking Geography 12, but it again conflicted with a different course I needed/wanted to take. I probably could have made it work, but one of the pretty-much-required parts of that class was a trip up Black Tusk. Packing up the gear. Camping in the snow. Climbing to the Tusk. (The tusk is an ancient volcanic structure - a perfect place for some hands on geography.) No WAY was I able to do that. I didn't take that course in part becuase of that trip. How sad.

Well this weekend I did it (minus the camping on the snow, though I did 'ski' part of the way down from the peak in my hiking boots on the remaining snowpack)! We hoofed our gear up, up, up, camped, and climbed the Tusk. Sixteen km (9.8 mi) up - then 16 down, and an elevation gain of 1710 m (5600 ft). High school fear: overcome.

I guess it kind of snuck up on me, and it's not a journey that is complete by any means, but boy, it feels good!

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