Life is not a plateau of happiness that you reach after a certain amount of time. It is more like a mountain range: full of peaks, valleys, rain, beautiful views, and dangerous terrain. Once you have reached the top, there are a neverending series of paths on which to continue. Up and down until our final day.
Today I have found myself in a valley. It is dark, cold, and rainy. My boots are wet and I have blisters on my feet. I keep thinking "Why can't it be sunny?", "Where are all the beautiful views?", and "Why have I lost my hiking partner?". Does this mean that I give up? Where would I go? No matter how I perceive my situation at the moment, it is, nonetheless, my situation. Do I lye in the mud and weep? Maybe for a moment. Then I have to force myself up, figure out a way to build a fire and shelter, dry off my boots and socks, and feel hopeful that the rain will eventually let up. It always does after all.
Tomorrow just might be sunny. I could be only a few steps from an amazing view that will inspire and uplift me. I will surely meet other hikers, known and unknown, and we will laugh together on our shared path.
In accepting where we are on our journey, in any given moment, we find an inner resilience and strength to continue. Life is not about bouncing around on clouds with a perma-smile. It is about getting up, standing tall, and hiking on.