“We forgot to bring sunscreen”, I said. “Don’t worry, it’s Ireland, we’ll be grant”, my friend answered. It turned out, we weren’t, and we got extremely sunburnt. But this came after I cried on the side of a mountain.
When I say mountain, I mean a little lump of rock with a rocky point. It’s the baby mountain ‘real mountains’ make fun of. But for me, back in 2013, it was a mountain. It was right around the time I started to dabble in running and fell in love with hiking. But the mountains? Those were still a foreign concept to me.
Going up the mountain
The rocky top of the Sugarloaf went steep up, and I had to use my hands to pull myself up the last bit. Looking back, it was fun; at the moment, I was scared out of my wits. Mountains were still new to me, and at that time, I was still afraid of everything. But the view from the top made it all worth it.
But then we had to go down…
My friend, ever the adventurer, suggested taking another path down. Not the standard route everyone else took, but the one with loose rocks scattered on the slopes. It wasn’t long before I was so terrified I had tears in my eyes.
I kept losing my footing and balance, slipping and wobbling on the rocks on the way down, always feeling like I had no grip. My friend had to coach me down. I may or may not have stayed up there if she didn’t.
In the end, we got back down with a hideous sunburn. On top of that, we were utterly dehydrated because we ran out of water.
Looking back, I can’t help but wonder how far I’ve come. When I look at photos from that hike, I see a scared, insecure girl. Nowadays, I’m still insecure, but I also found a lust for adventure. I’ve run half marathons, triathlons and I’m bouldering a lot. If you had told me that day on the mountain what I would do someday, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Sometimes I still don’t believe it. I look at all the things I do, all the sports things I want to do and I’m amazed. I still think like 14-year old me and say: ‘but I suck at sports’.
I guess the bottom line here is don’t believe anything you hear. Especially when you say it to yourself, you will surprise yourself, and you will find a strength inside you, you didn’t know you had. You will do things you didn’t think you could, and you’ll develop a lust for adventure you never held possible.
That is the one life-lessons you need to remember: Always be willing to prove yourself wrong.