“I Won’t Lie…..”

Ever since returning from Antarctica my life has been in the fast lane.  I feel like I am passing everything by at the speed of sound.  No time to smell the roses or the coffee.  I have been east, west, north and south and now finally I found a spare twenty four hours to call my own.  How did I get so lucky?  My flight to Nepal via Los Angeles was cancelled earlier today.  Suddenly I was ahead of schedule and there was nothing I could do about it except enjoy this extra time.

 

My apartment is dust free, mirrors shining, beds changed.  I sorted mail, email, laundry, went to the gym and read through my old journals.  I am still in my workout clothes; my hair is knotted on top of my head and the best part?  Everyone thinks I am winging my way across the globe when in actuality I am holed up in my spotless apartment. 

 

This brief respite is in direct contrast to the week I have experienced leading up to this unexpected breather.  The CBS Sunday morning feature filmed back in January swept me up in a wave of requests for dates, facts and a history lesson on the seven summits.  I smile to myself as I write a long explanation to CBS national network on the ‘true’ seventh summit.  I proudly shot back emails listing my accomplished summits, dates and summit photos.  Then the ultimate request….photos from my ‘previous’ pre-MS life.  I was diagnosed in 1998 any photo prior to that was going to be a baby book entry.  I tried to give excuses.  I had no time to go and search out old pictures.  I think they are in my mother’s garage.  Maybe I left them in Massachusetts.  But in the end, despite the nuisance the request was, I knew I had to locate some photos.  After all we have come this far why stop now?  So begrudgingly I went out to the storage unit and dug through boxes of stuff.  I vowed at least a dozen times to go through it all when I return from the Himalaya and sort it, clean it or pitch it.  Finally I located what I hope were suitable pictures of a much younger me in leotard, tights and those famous ‘80’s legwarmers teaching Jazzercise!

 

Jazzercise!  As many have heard me say when I travel across the country speaking, anyone can change their life.  Imagine my point of reference.  Soccer Mom, interior decorator and I took Jazzercise!  Tomorrow I head for the Himalayas to prepare mind and body for next year.  Everest 2009.  I won’t lie.  I’m a bit wigged out on this one.  When I started this journey a mere six years ago, I had no idea how quickly I would stand beneath the Goddess Mother of Earth….the Big Kahuna, the Big E.  I won’t lie.  Part of me is excited to finally breathe in all that is Everest and return to Boulder ready to train harder than ever.  Part of me wonders if there is still a Jazzercise class nearby.  I won’t lie.  When I clipped onto my first climbing rope my life was irrevocably and blessedly changed.  I won’t lie.  The journey has been difficult, reflective and often very lonely.  But the journey has been like nothing else I could ever have imagined in my life.

 

I won’t lie.  I have relished every second of this my new life.  My fourth grader’s class picture hangs from my backpack; their smiling faces will carry me as the load becomes heavy.  Life is a magical mystery tour and I intend to travel its twisted trail, pay it forward and meet it head on.

 

I won’t lie.  The seed for this blog entry was placed in my head two days ago on a busy street corner.  A homeless man held up a handmade cardboard sign “I won’t lie….it’s for beer.”

 

I have had a smile on my face ever since.  Perhaps he really needed the money for beer or perhaps he just wanted to make the passing world smile.  But either way he was being totally honest with us and himself.

 

I won’t lie.  I want to be that way too.

 

I will return to the US in seven weeks with a new respect and appreciation for the mountains and for my mission – to challenge myself and encourage others to go out and climb their own mountain…..the view is incredible.

 

Climb On!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.


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