Choosing My Own Adventure

Note: I’m not quite sure where the summer went or how I fell so far behind the past few months. However, I have a few topics I was planning on writing about during that time that I kind of let slide until now. I’m hoping to get back onto a fairly regular schedule, with some of these now-slightly-out-of-date posts coming up soon.

“Choose Your Own Adventure” books always drove me crazy. I wanted to read every possible journey through the book, so I would find myself constantly backtracking in an effort to see where every option would take me. It was confusing and exhausting. I also don’t know that they’ve published one of those books in 20 years, so perhaps my team won that battle.*

*A quick Wikipedia search revealed that CYOA books were published from 1979 to 1998. Nice 20-year run, but none in the last 14 years.

One of my greatest frustrations in life is the same thing as these books. I want to know every possible outcome, and it’s simply not possible. Countless time traveling/change-your-life-with-one-minor-tweak movies have focused on this very premise; the slightest alteration to a moment in time can have drastic effects on your life.

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Turning back is not an option

There’s a fine line between mental toughness and stubbornness. The line’s even finer between those two and stupidity. When you approach 14,000 feet on the side of a mountain, you start to question on which side of that line you stand.

I never doubted that I would make it to the top of Mt. Shasta when I started on the trail at 5:30 a.m. with my friends Jeremy, Matt and Tommy. It wasn’t necessarily any amount of pride that led to my confidence in success, more like extreme determination.

Perhaps it was extreme determination in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Both Jeremy and Matt are far more experienced hikers than I, and Jeremy had only reached the summit once in three prior attempts, while Matt had unsuccessfully attempted the climb once.

Even early on when they raised the possibility of failure I referenced such paragons of wisdom as Yoda (“Do or do not. There is no try.”) and said that I was either going to make it to the top or die trying. I repeated that ultimatum as we ascended the mountain, each time questioning just a little more which one would actually come to fruition.

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