I had a dentist appointment at 7:50am today. The dentistry was on 61st so I had to change my usual commute to work. Rather than taking the Metro North I had to take the 4 train to 59th. Between the train platform and the subway station there is a massive hill to climb. I say massive in terms of city terrain, though in the natural world this would still be considered pretty large. It’s on an incline of approximately 35 degrees and it lasts for at least ⅓ of a mile. The weather was sticky hot. The strong summer heat paired with the presence of the high humidity made it close to unbearable to walk in. Standing at the foot of the hill on my longboard I just started to ride up it. At first I thought I wasn’t going to do it, I figured I would just stop after a couple of strides. But for some reason, that thought made me want to continue. If I stopped, I’d just have to walk up it with a bag and board in hand. I’d sweat more and it would be a for a longer duration. So I didn’t stop. At the base I pushed one long stride after the other. As the incline increased insensitively, I took more and more in shorter amounts of time. Each stride was filled with all the force I could muster but the distance between them became shorter and shorter. I got a little break at a crossing but once that little man appeared across the street I knew I had to keep going. Push, the ground once ahead of me now disappeared behind me, push. Surprisingly I felt the most pain in my left calf, the one that rests on the board. The tension in it felt like rubber bands being consistently stretched out more than they should. Push, push. The peak of the hill appeared on the horizon and that’s when I almost felt the need to quit. It’s funny how our minds work like that. Persisting on finishing the hill I gave the last few strides. The board glide over the peak ever so slowly. No more pushing. I stood on the board doing absolutely nothing as it started to decline. Fortunately, gravity then took me towards the station. I got on the 4 hot, sweaty, and a bit tired, but those feelings are only temporary.
I wrote this story because it reminded me of a message I was once told. At a summer camp years ago, me and my team of campers canoed for a week, biked for a week, and hiked for a week in the state of New Hampshire. Every night we’d eat and say something we’re grateful for. During one night amongst the week of biking our counselor said he’s grateful for the uphills in life because it makes the downhills that much better. For without them, he told us, he wouldn’t know what to do. His messaged really resonated with me and that’s why I wanted to share it with you. Any journey in life can be compared to a simple hill. I ask you to reflect on my story with a “hill” in your life. I wrote this story with that message in mind, hopefully it becomes more meaningful to you now.