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Anxiety and Hope

I've been on an emotional bungee jump lately. At first I'm enjoying the ride, thinking "This is so exciting! Weeeeee!" but then there's the moment when reality hits and I think "Oh God, have I made a terrible mistake?!" but then I'm rebounded back up into the air thinking "This is so great! I'm having all the fun!" closely followed by the fall back to earth thinking "Holy crap what have I done?". You get the idea. It's exhausting.

Let me explain.

As the fundraising deadline for my Summit for Someone climb approaches and the climb of the Grand Teton gets closer I seem to alternate between anxiety and hope. Let's start on the bright side: HOPE. When I signed up for this climb I was brimming with hope. Hope that I'd reach my fundraising goal easily; hope that I'd be fit and ready for the climb by July; hope that there was a kid out there that would get to experience the wonders of nature because I committed to this process. Hope is a beautiful thing, it can sustain you through times of turmoil and doubt, it can give you something to hang on to when you feel like you're slipping, and it can renew your belief in people and in hard work.

I'll be hosting a fundraising party at a local brewery this week. From the moment I set my mind to the idea I was overwhelmed by the generosity of local business owners and friends. I sent emails to just about every local company I could think of and almost all of them wrote back in support of my effort and offering donations. Friends have made gifts for me to include in a raffle and helped spread the word about the event. When I got the rare email from a business saying "no", or worse, got no response at all, I looked at the list of all the yeses and was filled with hope that this party will be successful in helping me raise money and spread the word about Big City Mountaineers mission.

Then that creepy bastard ANXIETY slips in and rains on my hope parade. What if no one shows up? What if I'm the slowest person on the climb? Oh no, what if no one likes me?! Seriously, this is where my brain goes sometimes. It's ridiculous. I'm like a cartoon character with the little Anxiety devil on one shoulder saying "You are going to fail" and the Hope angel on the other whispering "Don't worry, it'll all be alright".

If you read my previous post Setbacks you know I recently had surgery on my right wrist. Considering that there is some actual technical rock climbing involved in getting to the summit of the Grand Teton, it's kind of a big deal to not have the use of my right hand for 2 months. In the last few days I think I've said at least 4 times "I just want to do pushups!". Pushups! How did I get to the point where the one thing I really want is to do pushups?! I guess it's like they say, you don't know what you've got until it's gone. But I try to tell myself I still have 2 months, and I know how to rock climb, and I'm already strong. I'm not falling back to zero, just slipping back to a-little-less-than-as-fit-as-I'd-like-to-be.

There are times when the voice of anxiety is louder and more persistent than the voice of hope. But hope is still there, sitting on my shoulder, waiting for me to get over myself and start believing that everything will be alright. And to just enjoy the ride.

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