The Climb.

Owen Zupp Uphill Climb

The Climb.

Having received so many good wishes of late regarding my recovery after surgery, I thought it was time for a post referencing the same. The timing was particularly relevant as I have just completed my walk for the day and this hike included a number of hills to conquer and that got me to thinking.

Casting my mind back to eight weeks post-op, Kirrily, the kids and I had taken some time away, down by the ocean. At that time I had resolved to undertake my recovery in earnest, so Kirrily and I set about walking each day, although there was a major difference between our home town and the recovery retreat – there were hills.

Back then, each rise in the level of terrain was met with some degree of trepidation. I would glance up at the “peak”, then lower me eyes to the ground and put one foot in front of the other, praying for the incline to end. Even with Kirrily’s encouragement, there were times when I had to pause a moment, glance up again and then put my head down and trudge on. I had run marathons in my younger years, but some of those tiny hills were just as challenging.

Today, a further three months on, a new set of hills by the ocean were placed in front of me that were both longer and steeper. That same trepidation began to stir within but once again, I glanced up and got down to business. Soon, my reservations dropped away as I ascended the slopes. My breathing was regular and I could even engage in conversation. No, a marathon was not on the cards – not even a five-kilometre road race – but I was able to comfortably overcome those hills before me. And this got me to thinking.

Whatever challenges are cast upon us, be they surgery or something far removed, the process of recovery remains the same. Whether the adversity poses a threat to our physical or mental capability – or both – mole hills can seem like mountains. But we can’t be scared of that, as daunting as it may seem. We have to glance up at the goal and then put our head down and carry on.

This is not to say that it’s easy – far from it. The temptation to give up can be strong and there will be times when it may seem overwhelming. Remembering the end-game and its rewards can sustain the drive to continue. There may be a need to pause for a moment and regroup but that is not an invitation to throw the towel in. Each step that is subsequently taken not only brings the goal closer, importantly it heightens our confidence in our ability to succeed. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As I sit here with the waves crashing on the shore below, I feel relaxed and those first horrid weeks after surgery seem a distant memory. Time alone has not distanced those memories but the effort of the intervening months has, step by step, built a solid foundation on which I can now sit – but not stop altogether.

None of us wish for adversity to come calling but when it comes our way we should glance up at the goal and then put our head down and get on with the job. The road might not be easy but when the top of the hill is reached, the view will be better than ever before. And, at that moment, there may even be enough time to appreciate the climb.

Owen Zupp Climb Snow