Control the Landing

CAM00345This is probably an obvious statement since going up represents success. No one wants to fail. The tricky part comes with defining that success, but that’s not this post.

Nope, I’m talking about the physical act of going up when I’m walking. I have a park by my house with miles of trails that go up and down and all around. I would like to say that I’ve taken full advantage of living so close to a natural, free resource over the years, but I don’t like to lie.

Recently, though, I’ve taken another stab at a healthier lifestyle and that includes walking. Now that the snow if finally over (fingers crossed) it seemed like an ideal time to head over to the park. It’s still a bit sloppy and wet, but for the most part it’s just nice to be out to get some sun and fresh air. Oh, and new pictures!

I was out walking the other day. Not one of the more difficult trails, just one to help get me back into the swing of things, but there were hills to climb. I was doing pretty good too until it came time to go back down the first hill.

This is where I should probably mention that I have a fear of falling. I used to fall quite a bit. Oh hell, I still fall. I don’t know if it’s a coordination problem or what, but it doesn’t matter if there’s ice or it’s dry, there’s a good chance that I’ll fall. Down steps, up steps, on flat ground, uneven terrain, doesn’t matter.

So I’ve never been really fond of going down hill. And that’s supposed to be easier right? Gravity does most of the work for you. If I’m going up I need to work at it. It takes an effort. It usually hurts.

And yet I feel more confident, more sure-footed, more in control when I’m going uphill. It’s only when I’m going down the other side that I begin to question whether or not I can finish the walk since there’s probably another hill up ahead. I see every root or mud patch as a treacherous enemy.

Anxiety builds and I wonder why I even wanted to walk in the woods in the first place.

Then I remember that I’ve been walking for a very long time and each time I’ve fallen I’ve gotten right back up usually with only minor injuries. So I start down the hill, watching where I’m going, careful to place my feet correctly, and soon enough I’m at the bottom safe and sound. I’m ready to tackle the next hill.

Maybe that’s the point…

Being successful (going up) is easy. Sure it takes hard work and effort, but it’s something you can build upon. You have something tangible that tells you it’s possible to take on the next challenge (big hill) so you can tackle any of the problems that come with ease.

It’s the failures (going down) that are tricky. You’re not sure where to go next. Decision-making becomes a chore. Doubt creeps in where self-confidence was a mainstay. And once you start to slip it’s very easy to land at the bottom with a broken tailbone. Then when the next big challenge (hill to climb) comes along you’re left with only doubt and insecurity as companions.

The trick is not to slip uncontrollably all the way down. Maybe stop and re-evaluate (look where you’re walking) on the way down so that the failure is mitigated. Learn from it so the next time the fall isn’t quite so far down.

What’s that saying? What goes up must come down.

While that may be true we can certainly control the landing…

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