Someone Else Is Happy With Less Than What You Have

“Someone else is happy with less than what you have.”

This could be a conversation I’m having with myself from fifteen years ago.  If only I could.  It amazes me how we evolve in such a short period of time.   I mean, I’m not going to be around for billions of years.  Though…when I do laundry sometimes it feels like it.

But I digress.  It doesn’t take eons to evolve, physically or emotionally or spiritually.  It happens before you know it.  So I sat down this morning to write about my amazing weekend, and the above quote that I’d seen kept coming back.  And I realized that I am happy with less than what I had.  Not that it really matters to you, my three readers.  But hey, this is my blog right?

I got sunburned on Friday, even though I wore sunscreen.  I know, right?  Note to self…reapply.  Of course, I say this now after I spent another three days basking in the sun and frying my tender white skin to a golden lobster color.  So I haven’t completely evolved…

I was knee deep in wet, slushy snow.  Surrounded by a blanket of reflective white crystals glimmering in the sun.  I was wearing shorts and a short sleeved shirt, and I was drenched in sweat.   Friday I was high on a mountain in my backyard and I was evolving.

Some of you may be familiar with my experiences on Mt. Baldy.  The highest point in Los Angeles County, it remarkably offers a wonderful alpine experience just minutes from the urban sprawl that is Southern California.  It is also the place of my rescue from a fall in early 2008.  This mountain has been in my head ever since.

My partner and I arrived early, and I realized I had forgotten my camera.  Instead of being distraught, I was actually relieved.  The expectation of recording our trip was gone and I was free to experience the mountain.  The first couple hours of the morning were spent hiking the dirt trail past the ski hut to the snow line.  The past few weeks of training left me feeling fit and strong and most of all, confident.

We topped the west ridge and suddenly we were out of the thickest trees and into the thinning air and beaming sunlight.  And into the heat.  And still we pushed on.  As we neared the summit, the tree line gave way to the blank canvas of snow and the occasional rock.  Together my friend and I reached the summit shoulder to shoulder.

The top wasn’t quite as warm as the west ridge had been, being completely exposed to the winds that swept in from the high desert to the north.  After quickly putting back on all of the layers I had previously shed, I was free to enjoy the experience.

Thank goodness for camera phones.  I was able to snap a shot or two for prosperity’s sake.  Standing on the summit was a relief, but only half the journey.  I have stood on the summit before…

Three hours later we were back at the truck, a little sunburned, a little hungry and more than a little tired.  But we were elated at our journey.  The experience.

Looking back, I recognize the scope of what I had done.  No, I hadn’t climbed Everest or crossed the Sahara or walked to the South Pole.  But what I had done was spend my time and energy and even a little money doing what was most important in my life.  I had shared a journey.  An experience.

Fifteen years ago that would not have been enough to be happy.

Today I realize my life is rich with experience.

My weekend was filled with experiences.  The joy of the micro-adventure!

Saturday morning my wife and I left with friends Matt and Kyan for the six hour drive to Arizona.  We would be spending the night with Kyan’s parents in a little town built at the base of a small mountain known for its eclectic and diverse shops and restaurants.  Oh, and it was bike week.  Streets filled with hogs and choppers anyone?

We spent Saturday night unwinding from the long, monotonous drive by walking to a rustic steakhouse for dinner.  Afterward, we gathered late into the night putting together a puzzle at the kitchen table.  Laughter is a great way to offset the maddeningly frustrating toil that is putting together a puzzle.  Now you know how I feel about puzzles….

Sunday morning was relaxing.  The air had cooled from the day before, and made sitting out in the yard in the sun an absolute joy.  Before long we cleaned up and piled into cars and headed to Tempe Diablo Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Angels spring training camp.

Our destination for the day was the final spring training game in Arizona for both the Angels and my beloved (and 2012 World Series Champion) Chicago Cubs.  Hey, I can dream right?  This is my blog after all…

I am a HUGE baseball fan.  It was to be my first spring training game, as well as my wife’s.  And since her favorite team is the Angels, it seemed the perfect first game to attend.  And perfect it was.  A major league game in a minor league stadium.  It was neat to see players you are so familiar with so close.  You don’t get that kind of experience in a ballpark that seats 50k fans.  Well, unless you have those seats down by the field that cost a really, really shiny penny.

I don’t have a really, really shiny penny.  I have much less than that…and I’m happy.

The game was incredible.  Well, it was for me anyway as the Cubbies beat up on the Angels pretty good.  The weather was unbelievable, sunny with a slight cooling breeze.  It made for getting more of a sunburn that much easier.

You’d think I would learn.

The drive Sunday night back home was long and tiring after the game.  But overall the trip was very rewarding.  Monday I felt like a million bucks even though I was a little car-lagged.  Still, my wife and I decided a picnic lunch would be a fantastic way to cap off the weekend.   I knew just the spot.

We drove back up Mt. Baldy road to the same spot I had parked on Friday when I had climbed the mountain.  We tossed a couple of sandwiches and some drinks into the backpack and made the half mile trek up the service road to the locally world famous waterfall.  We were all alone.

It was cool in the shade, almost cold really, but perfect in the sunlight.  We enjoyed our lunch before doing a little exploring.  There was even a “bear” sighting.

My weekend had come full circle.  Emotionally, I am a different person than I was four years ago after my accident.  I am a different person than I was fifteen years ago when expectations were unrealistic for real happiness.  I have less today than I’ve had.  Much less.  In some respects that’s a worry, actually.  But I am keeping faith that will change soon.

Until then I reflect on the journey I have taken.  I look ahead to the journey I’ve yet to take.  Maybe this isn’t the right post to discuss the significance of my summit this past weekend.  Maybe.

I guess I’ll be satisfied with a disjointed retelling of my weekend.  This clumsy rambling of thoughts and ideas.  My life is rich with experience…I hope you don’t mind if I share.

10 responses to “Someone Else Is Happy With Less Than What You Have

    • It was a short trip, but we had fun. Jake will post his own thoughts here real soon, ha ha ha…I’ll make sure he keeps in touch with you, for sure. Bears and bunnies get along, right?

  1. Thank you for sharing a personal perspective on the importance of appreciating what we have. And nice jacket by the way, is that First Ascent? Could not help but noticing the colors.

    • Thanks! It is funny how and when moments of clarity appear. I was at 9800′ and moving along pretty good. My heart rate was up, my legs and chest were burning, I was drenched in sweat…and I realized there was no other place I’d rather be at that moment. The rest of my post is pure hindsight.

      My jacket is the FA Hangfire Hoodie. Absolutely LOVE it. Keeps me super warm when I need it and is really light and packable. I was wearing a synthetic short sleeved shirt under a long sleeved shirt under my hoodie and I was warm up top (in about mid-40’s temps with steady wind). Looking to get a few more FA pieces…

      • I really appreciate your wiring, and the very personal approach you take. Down to earth, not condescending, and very approachable. FA gear has become my favorite stuff, and a few things will be coming with me to Alaska in June.

      • Thanks for the comments, they mean a lot to me. Can’t wait to hear about your trip to Alaska. You’ve been planning this for a while, right? I’m jealous…take LOTS of pictures. 🙂

  2. There’s really no experience so wonderful that it can’t be enriched by the presence of a bear… :).

    • Thank you! It was a natural progression, really. I’d sit and daydream in class all day, and then at home. And then, at night. On the weekends too! Seeing a pattern? Yeah, me too. I didn’t know what to do with all of these stories and places I’d created in my head, so I figured the best thing to do was let them out of my head. Sometimes it isn’t easy, but it’s always fun.

      Your comments mean a lot to me, thanks again!!!

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