Here's one of my obsessions. You see, I failed at something last year and I'm going to fix that this year. It's something my family is pretty tired of me talking about but I absolutely deplore failure. The Winsor Trail does not stand a chance. I am coming for it.
Last summer, my family spent two days in Santa fe, New Mexico during our cross country road trip. On the first day, we hiked a small mountain near St. John's College known as Monte Sol. In short, the hike was fun and my children, ages two and seven at the time, fully enjoyed themselves. Emboldened by the first day, we set out on day two on a second, more intense hike. This was a hike that I'd done many times in my twenties. But I was now 42 and a little concerned about my fitness. I dreamed about taking my family on this hike for many months prior to our trip.
To get to this hike, we drove 16 miles up to the Santa Fe ski basin and parked our car 10,350 feet above sea level. Naturally, the air was thinner and as we embarked on the trail, my family peeled off one by one. Within twenty minutes, the only hikers left were me, my daughter, (who I was carrying) and my sister-in-law. I knew beforehand that the initial series of switch backs would be the most challenging part of this hike for me but as I actually hyperventilated on the side of this mountain and grabbed my hips as hikers much older than me breezed past. Not giving up, I picked up my daughter with my left arm and continued up the next switch back, It became clear that my daughter was feeling disoriented from the elevation. None of us were accustomed to hiking a mile and a half above sea level!
After admitting our inability to continue, my sister-and-law and I took turns carrying my daughter as we descended back to the ski basin parking lot. Every step of that hike back to my car felt like the walk of shame. In my mind, I had failed miserably. We spent the rest of our final day in Santa Fe eating amazing food and soaking in the sites of an incredible state capital. The whole time, I scrolled through websites, blogs, maps, and pictures about this trail. I couldn't let this go.
If don't succeed at a goal, I get obsessed about fixing that. This was no different. I decided that I needed to get away for a week to the Southwestern United States. So, I've made plans to hike that trail again in August. I'm not giving up on this.
Tomorrow morning, I am going to wake up at 5 am and hike a trail in the mountains near my home to prepare for what I have to do in August. You may ask, "Why is he obsessed about hiking a mountain?" The best answer that I can provide you is that just because I'm in my forties and hobbled from three bouts with cancer does not mean that I can't finish this hike or anything else that I put my mind to.
I'll leave you with a cheesy slogan I remembered from my Catholic high school football team - Pain is temporary but pride is forever. I can't tell you how many times I've powered through intense pain ONLY because I knew what was on the other side of that pain. Preparing and taking the bar exam doesn't have to be painful, but if it is for you, just remember the goal:
I WANT TO BE A LAWYER.