I lay on my bed while using my fingers to count how many months I’ve been in Peru. Seven. Almost seven months. It’s only 7am on a Saturday morning - I close my eyes again and ten minutes go by. April is my birthday month. Just a few days after my 36th birthday, I hope to gift myself a day on top of a glacier. I have set my sights on Mateo, a moderate terrain that can be climbed in a day. It’s towards the tail end
of the rainy season, so I’m optimistic that we’ll have a mint view.
That reminds me, I also need to set aside a day or two to go rock climbing with Guido before I go on holiday in May. I tried it for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I saw a shift in me. I think that goes hand in hand with trying anything hard, right?
It took me two goes to get up what they called a “really easy rock”. On my second attempt and while halfway up the rock face, I began to hear those familiar internal tapes of doubt. I looked down at him and yelled, “What do I do next?” He smiles and yells, “Keep going up!” I laughed. And climb
I did. I was pretty proud of my effort that day.
When I had two feet back on solid ground, he asked me what it felt like
to be up so high (especially since I told him earlier that I still had a fear of heights). I didn’t have vertigo, just my own self-doubt that made me stop.
I kept worrying that I would make the wrong decisions and not see my next foot hole (and of course I used my arms even though he told me to use my legs instead). That I would be stuck on that rock face...forever.
Of course that’s an exaggeration because in reality, I had a safety rope. Guido was an experienced mountain guide, if I did slip, he wouldn’t let
Some decisions in life will feel heavier than deciding which foot hole
I need to use, I get that. At the core of all decision making is…you. The real you. Beneath all those layers of responsibility, social expectations and whatever life has thrown at you that you doubt your own magic. Decisions, disguised as responsible or ‘safe’ often distract and lead you away from what makes you truly happy. At least it did for me. As much as I’m a go-getter, I’m also a notorious procrastinator.
While some people struggle to make a decision because they think they don’t have enough options to choose from, I’m the opposite. I actually feel I have so many to choose from that I don’t want to choose. Which reminds me of a conversation I had with Travis (we’re both TEFL teachers and foodies). He was trying to decide if he would stay an extra month in Huaraz, and as the saying goes, the advice we give people are often the advice we need to hear ourselves. “You know Travis, there aren’t really any good or bad decisions. Just redirections. I mean, there’s nothing to say that you can’t change paths if where you’re heading isn’t for you. We change over time, so there’s no rule that you have to keep walking the road you outgrow. Either way, you’re going to be OK. Decide what you want, then go for it.”
So, I made a decision today. I don’t want to be afraid of being afraid anymore. Those fears: The fear of heights, the uncertainty of the future, I’m going to redirect that energy and focus doing what makes my soul happy. To re-record my internal tapes and believe in my own magic again. If we only truly have one life to live, then from today and for the rest of my days, I want to hike, eat pizza and repeat.
Ronna Grace Funtelar a thirtyish storyteller, creative, writer and poet currently working and traveling in Peru. A woman with a curious mind who lives for hiking mountains, outdoor adventures and eating pizza. She has a unique brand of optimism that is a combination of her great enthusiasm for life and cups of coffee during the day.