Wait? So the first step ISN’T the hardest?

I feel like I’ve been lied to.

I fully expected going back to school after 17 years to be like cresting the top of the highest on your ride. Sure, your thighs are burning and there’s sweat dripping into places where it is unwelcome, but you’re almost there! Just up and over and you’re home free! It’s cruising downhill, no-hands-on-the-handlebars time! Wheee!

Uh, no.

Which, yeah, with these super chic-looking hindsight glasses, is pretty clearly naive, but I was hanging my hopes on it. Crest that hill and the biggest step in doing the thing would be done.

My second, third, fourth days of classes, my first assignments, my first quiz, my first time reading my paper aloud for critique (barf, barf, every barf), they all let the clouds clear a bit until I could see that what I thought was the summit was just another ledge on the mountainside. I have so much more to go.

But, so what? Maybe the first step isn’t the hardest, maybe all of the steps, for some stupid reason, just keep getting harder and more treacherous. That doesn’t mean that skidding back down the mountain is the right answer. It’s not even the easiest answer. I’m not sure how much crow is in YOUR daily allowance of calories, but I try to eat as little as possible.

I guess what I’m saying is, I’m Stallone in Cliffhanger. That weird song is playing as my gnarly old man, sausage fingers cling to a wire. Or a rock. Or whatever.

Ok, I didn’t actually see that movie, but I was forced to watch the trailer several times recently and I feel like that’s enough.

The point is: I’m hanging in there, baby. I’m weirding my classmates out by looking like a narc in my mom bod and my Marvel t shirts. I’m turning in papers that make no sense, but seem to be right. I’m getting up and walking back into class everyday.

Maybe I’m not at the top of the mountain. Maybe, horror of horrors, there IS no top of the mountain. But where I’m at looks a lot more like the top than where I was five years ago, sitting in the mud, convincing myself the mountain wasn’t there.

Keep it up, climbers. Things get murky up here, but, if you need a hand, I’ll be Sly Stone to your Janine Turner and catch you midair…

Right? Did that happen in Cliffhanger? Was she even IN Cliffhanger? I keep getting it confused with the Ace Ventura sequel. So maybe consider that your grain of salt to go with my advice about anything.