Peaks and Valleys

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Mount Everest is the tallest point on our entire planet; the Himalayan peak clocks in at a staggering 8,850 meters above sea level.  Ever since 1922 – when the first group of British adventurers first attempted to reach the peak – Everest has been claiming lives at a far more rapid rate than those who actually reach the top and live to tell the tale.  Since deemed possible, people have been lining up and paying top dollar to try their fate at reaching the top, solidifying the assent as natures most deadly obstacle course.

The Dead Sea, which lines the boarder between Israel and Jordan, is the lowest point on Earth.  The baron wasteland of salt deposits has been recorded to be just shy of 1,400 ft below sea level.  Conditions here are so extreme that even the critters of the local area avoid the resource-scarce desert.  Just like Mount Everest, people have been making the trip to view and explore the Dead Sea, to feast their eyes on Earth’s frying pan.

Essentially, life is like the landscape around us.  It is a range of peaks and valleys that one must navigate through, remembering to stay hopeful at the lows and humble at the highs.  Recently however, I have found it troubling that lifes lows seem to outweigh the highs.  Now no, by no means is this an invite to my pity-party next week where I’ll be serving Ben & Jerrys and drowning myself in red wine.  Life’s fine…you’re not reading blog posts from a pessimist I swear!  You are however, reading from someone who has recently found life’s pay-off to be consistently lower than the work we put it.

I have a midterm Friday.  Study buddies and espresso shots aside, if you’re looking for me, just send a pigeon to the library.  I don’t need to explain to any college student how real that struggle can be and how trying and tiring the process of preparing for these exams can be.  Whether you’re the type of person who brings a sleeping bag and changes their mailing address when its time to hunker down for an exam or the person who watches the sunrise as they finish their last chapter of Econ notes, we’re all going to be in the same boat once all is said and done.  The class after next we’re all going to be sitting and waiting eagerly…did all that work pay off?

Why is a 95 never as good as a 75 is bad?  I am honestly asking.  Take that analogy and expand it.  Stretch it.  Bend it. Change it. Apply it.  Why do the opposite sides of the SAME coin seem to be incredibly uneven these days.  Why?

Perhaps its preparation.  The more you plan the more you expect things to go accordingly.  Whether you’re studying for that exam, about to release your brand new app, or are mapping out your summer travel plans…the more you prepare the more you expect success.  I guess thats why a 95 goes straight into your folder to never be seen again while the 75 makes you gain 10 pounds over three weeks as you contemplate your inadequacy in financial computations and moreover life itself.  Well if you ask me, thats bullshit.  Why should preparation mitigate the joy we get from getting what we expected!  And why is it that when the preparation has proven futile do we let it affect ourselves so so so much more than the satisfaction of a job well done.

I’d love to see Mt. Everest.  The allure of standing somewhere in the world where not a soul is higher than you certainly has its thrills and I can only imagine the sense of pride a hicker feels when he takes that final step.  I’ve also seen and swam in the Dead Sea and was perplexed by how derelict an area sunken so low can look and feel.  Mt. Everst is a point however, plain and simple.  With room for one, its simply a perch to overlook at the kingdom you have conquered.  The Dead Sea is vast.  Barron.  Open.  Opportune.  The valleys in our lives is where we rebuild and re-establish.  At the peaks we evaluate and enjoy.  Without one there is no other and without the other, the one would never be so impressive.  Just as the business school curves to a B and life is lived more on a plateau, the peaks and valleys will come. Lace up the shoes and make it to the other side.

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