“Because in the end you won’t remember the time spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb the goddamn mountain.”
– Jack Kerouac
I haven’t read Kerouac’s On The Road (but kind of want to) and I know that he lived a life that was not wholly worth celebrating, but I came across this quote and it struck me as true, and in line with a philosophy that I strive to remind myself of, especially when I get “stuck” or feel bogged down by lots of little things in my life that tend to pile up once in a while. We all have to go to work, and pay the bills, and take care of the house, and shuttle the kids to their practices, and catch up with our parents and friends and people that used to be friends but we haven’t talked in… years. We have to read books because other people tell us that they are good. We have to try to stay up on all the craziness that is happening in the world around us.
At times I feel stressed out with all of these commitments that I have made – which are all worthwhile, mind you – and I feel like I am not prioritizing any of them correctly. I feel my energy level backsliding towards negativity as I know I’m not performing well in all of my roles in life. And then my high school friend – who I don’t talk to nearly enough – texts me out of the blue and asks, “do you want to run a 50K race with me?” Almost instantly, my perspective changes. As soon as I said “Yes” and went through some quick stages of fear, nervousness, and instant buyer’s remorse as I clicked REGISTER on the race website, I transitioned to a positive, EXCITED energetic state. Each morning as I review my daily plan, I make sure that there is a specific time allotted for physical and mental preparation for this race. This race is now my mountain looming in the distance that Kerouac beckons me toward. Quite literally actually, we’ll be climbing a mountain, and then descending, and climbing again, you get the idea. But this mountain gets closer every day, and it makes me feel ALIVE. And that motivation of upcoming adventure doesn’t make those other commitments go away, but instead provides me with positive energy to take them on with gusto after I have completed my daily training.
Our CFKI community is chock full of athletes that are climbing different mountains, but just as steep and full of exhilarating risk and reward. We have people taking on similar trail races coming up, all of which I would say are out of their comfort zone. We have new members that are taking on CrossFit training for the first time, which we all know feels like the highest mountain there is at first – good for you!! And this year we have three teams competing in the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge in just two and a half weeks, many of them for the first time! A full day of CrossFit competition is a big chunk of fitness to bite off, but these animals have been training hard individually and as teams, and all are ready to throw down. I’m super proud of all of our community for taking on these audacious goals, and then working so hard to smash them.
When we have successfully climbed these mountains, the feelings of personal accomplishment and strengthened friendships will change our perspective on what we can do, shattering our current limitations and negative self-talk. Leaning into adventure creates a snowball effect of growth and confidence that then bleeds over into all aspects of our lives. It makes us feel ALIVE when what we’re doing every day is connected to a goal that is exciting to us. This is truly Kokoro training – connecting to your heart and leading your life with that deep-seeded desire to do amazing things.