So I recently hiked the Aberdares Ranges ; third highest ranges in Kenya. In an attempt to try out my philosophical fit, I found myself trying to compare my hike to life in general; just how it is, how one gets through it, how to explain why others ‘make it’ while others don’t. Btw, have you ever wondered how the measures of who has made it and who hasn’t came to be predetermined? Ever wondered how to explain the relationships forged during the countless life encounters? Well, if you’ve never, u need to get yourself hiking a set of ranges sweating blood and panting your lungs out.
The Aberdares made me question so much…made me understand a little bit of life. You see, life is but a set of ranges, with several smooth clean paths, countless meanders, several bamboo slits, slippery muddy pathways, rocky steep cliffs.
Such is life. Some days, it is very clear…. giving you a very clear vision of what lies ahead, just as the Aberdares Summit does on clear sky days. Other days, its foggy and misty and ugly. You can barely see 50 meters ahead, you can barely know what or where you’re headed. Such was the Saturday morning of my hike. It was too foggy to see anything. I must admit that among my top reasons of hiking the ranges was to get the breathtaking view at its summit and capture amazing photos in the process. The cloudy day however had other plans in mind I guess; I ended up not having any view from the top.
Company, friendships, relationships…. these are some of the critical things in ones life. We all know the cliché show me your friends blah blah saying. Well, it is true, friends determine how far you go in life. They form your supporting and influencing system, knowingly or unknowingly. They offer a hand when the path gets too slippery and the cliffs too steep; cc Vannessa & Expery.
They pull you up when you fall down. Am telling you folks, the number of times I slid and fell flat on the muddy patches were uncountable, it got to a point where it became simply hilarious. We would laugh it off as we described how the fall went down, how I landed flat on my bum, how Evans landed on his back and took 5 straight minutes to contemplate on his life while still on the ground (this fall won the fall of the moment award) … good times. But in all our falls, in all our slides, one thing remained constant, we had each other to laugh it off, we had each other to brush it off, we had each other to pull each other back up.
At times, one would try to cling to the bamboo only to find that it was rotten. It was at this juncture that you realized you’re fucked hard and decided how you preferred your landing to be and in which position. Sometimes in life, you are gonna try so hard…you’ll struggle and fight to get what you want. In some situations, you shall cling to rotten bamboo branches. The earlier you realize your efforts futile, the less hurtful your fall shall be. We can never always get what we want in life. And its ok dear. Its not your fault, you just clung onto the wrong branch…whenever you realize this, re-strategize as fast as possible, mitigate as quick as possible.
Although one of us had already hiked the ranges before, and still had a clear memory of the place, we still opted to have a local guide and show us around. Sometimes in life, you may need to get someone with slightly more experience than you and let them take the lead. Moha (the guide’s name) was nothing but resourceful, showing us several buffalo and elephant shits…Come to think of it, wouuuuwww….those creatures can shit y’all…like reeeeeeaaalllyy sshit a lot! He showed us the routes to follow, the safety rules to obey etc…If we were to rely on the ‘entrusted’ guidance of our mister friend, woooff, I’d prolly be in some cave somewhere in the ranges roughing up some firewood to keep the elephants away.
So apparently, there’s this point called the Point of Despair, yeaass…its an actual official name. And true to its name, this is the point where most hikers call it quits and question the necessity of undergoing the tortuous endeavor. Two of my friends called it quits at this point. And you know what, that did not make them lesser hikers or less strong than any of the folks who continued with their hike. Not at all. In life’s journey, we all have different destinations, we all have our own definitions of making it, of achievement. The moment you let another’s conception of the same apply to your life is the moment you become a desperate soul just existing not living. We have different timelines; we have different paces. One may make their first million at 20, while another does the same at 50, but they are all millionaires, aren’t they? Don’t haste life, don’t be too hard on yourself, learn your pace, move with your pace, determine your destination…don’t let others naming your destination a “Point of Despair” deter you from pursuing your preset goals.
Being the hard head that I am, I defied my aching muscles and decided to continue past the Point of Despair to the Summit. It was at this point where I decided to start correlating my life with the hiking; that’s how challenging the remaining part was. The cliffs were rockier and steeper. The mud made them even more slippery making the falls more rampant and a tad more life threatening. Thank heavens for the strong arms of my friend which acted as my support and anchor for a good part of the remaining part. You see, sometimes, its okay to seek help, its alright to admit our weaknesses and seek assistance, its fiiiiiiineee to accept the challenges we face and seek aid. That in no way makes you weaker, no. it simply enables you to achieve your goals faster and with more efficiency. Get people you know you can lean on when the going gets too tough. Get guys who will motivate and positively challenge you to get to the summit. People who ensure your eyes remain on the prize. And when you finally get to the Summit, u’ll sit there engulfed in the clouds and deeply inhale, that deep breathe of triumph, the one you take when you’ve survived a fate, you see that one you take after gulping down a thirst quenching glass of sparkling water…yeeeaaass, that kind of breathe. The one that will remind you that despite your successes, you at times need to take a moment and breaaathee, take a moment and get back to the basis of life; breath.