Today, the countdown on my blog ran out. When I started, today was the day I planned to finish. Today, I planned to be at my goal weight.
And today, I am not.
I'm OK with that. I knew it was an ambitious target, but figured it would spur me on more than a lower, easier target would. None the less, the fact that today has always had a big red circle around it on my calendar has given me pause for thought. Made me think about my progress, about my weight loss so far, and about how far I still have to go.
You see, my weight loss is my Everest.
I have always admired people who achieved their weight loss, or any other ambition. People who conquered their Everest. For me, weight loss was always something I thought it would be wonderful to do, something I would always like to do, at some point in the future. But I always told myself it was just a dream, a crazy ambition, that I was far too lazy and set in my ways to ever actually achieve the summit of my Everest.
I mean, look at it. It's so big! Think of the effort it would take to get there. Only madmen would actually try it, and fewer still would make it. It was nice to sit and imagine the view from the summit, but to get there, one would have to drag their way up, inch by inch, step by step, and put themselves through all kinds of pain and torture. I would never make it to the top...so why try? Why face the humiliation of attempting, and failing? Much easier to sit back, with my dreams. In my dreams, I was always already at the top.
But then one day, I tore my eyes away from the summit, and looked at the stones beneath my feet. Every journey begins with one step, they say, and even I could manage one step.
So I took one step. And another. And then another.
And suddenly, I was on my way. I stopped craning my neck to get a view of the summit, but focussed on the few feet in front of me. That was manageable. That I could do. So I kept on, gaining ground, slow and steady, not thinking about the miles ahead, but instead relishing in the miles that were suddenly behind me. I broke into a jog, and then a run. This was easy! I would be there in no time!
But then the slope became steeper, and my legs tired. I found myself slowing, catching my breath, until finally I stopped. Stopped, and at last, let myself look about me.
And the view took my breath away. Look how far I had come! Things were so much better here than they had been before. I could see so much clearer now. I felt alive, and awash with confidence. Look at what I had achieved!
The summit still loomed overhead, much closer than it had been, but the final ascent would be far tougher than my journey so far. So why would I bother? Things were fantastic now, and the view was spectacular. Why put myself through all that effort? Why not just stay here? How much better could things really get?
And that's the question. How much better can they get? Yes, things are much better now. But can I say I conquered my Everest? No. The view is wonderful here, but can I say I've actually seen the view from the summit? No. And would I like to? Put aside all the effort it will take, and all the time - would I like to see the view from the summit?
So I will carry on. I will persevere. I don't know how long it will take, or if it will prove too much for me, but the summit is so close. I can almost touch it. I can't stop now. To stop now would somehow be worse than never having set out. All I can do is put my head down, focus on the ground before me, and go on. Step by step. Inch by inch.
And one day, I will make it. The summit isn't a prize, something only the brave or the powerful can achieve. The summit is where we all belong. It is our natural place. I belong there, at the summit of my Everest, as you belong at the summit of yours. We are just reclaiming what is already ours. What was ours, and shall be ours again.
So I will carry on. And one day, I will make it. One day.