Preikestolen, Norway: I have gone and climbed a mountain

The team gathers at the top (I didn't look down, ever)

A team of us at work took a trip up the mountains at Preikestolen, 604 meters above sea level and 7km there and back. Though I knew about the trip a month or so in advance, I had no idea what to expect. I think my strategy was to not think about at all. I’m below average physical fitness and have only began to exercise in the past 3 months. So yes, I have no idea what I was thinking….. ok, I already said I was not thinking. That explains it.

There were a few things to be learned as I ascended (and later had to descend) the monster climb. I was sure of my failure. It’s a shock to me that I didn’t just find a flat rock, sit on it and cry till my team was convinced I was no good. That way, they’d have sent me back before it was too late. But as you’ve probably gathered, I made the climb and I noted the following which may well apply to my everyday life.

The gruelling climb

 

  1. There’s no point looking down (especially if you’re afraid of heights) or back (especially if you’ve come far enough that going back is just stupid).
  2. Some things are impossible without a supportive team or network cheering all the way.
  3. Getting to know people on the way up is an investment for when you have to come down (and it helps to pass the time).
  4. Follow the trail marked by those who have gone before (it’s not the time to be creative).
  5. There are muscles you’ll never know you have until you face a certain kind of challenge. It will surprise you how well your body persists and overcomes.
  6. People who had made the trip before significantly played down how hard it was.
  7. On returning, it will be unbelievable to the first-timer how high a summit was conquered.

 

As for hard things that I have done, this is high up there on my list. I felt a strong sense of accomplishment. However, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever do it again.

The most difficult part was the height and you know how I feel about extreme sports and living on the edge.

The biggest deal? I’ve got my mojo back. Funny, I didn’t realise I had all but lost it. Going higher can do amazing things – just don’t look over the edge.

Classifieds: Urgent requirement for phone call endings…

I’ve got some nerve writing this.

It's not that I want to hang up....I kinda have to

It wasn’t long ago when I made a fuss about email etiquette in my post ‘Save the brain-insects with your email etiquette’. Now, I have a little confession of my own – I don’t know how to effectively end a phone call. Maybe it’s always been like this. When I was a teenager, my dad got fed up of my constant telephone presence and (according to him) the ‘boys’ that would call then hang up when they heard his voice. He was so tired of it that he did the unthinkable – he got me my own number and phone in my bedroom. I know! I know! OUTRAGEOUS. Especially if you know my dad.

I’ll tell you how it starts. I want to call a friend then I think about all the stuff we have to catch up on and I just don’t make the call. Why?

Well, because I usually have a maximum of 10-15 minutes before I have to get on to the next ‘thing’. The ‘thing’ could be getting to work, cooking, bathing the kids, going to church, knitting, blogging, studying e.t.c. Often, I KNOW the conversation will run up to the best part of an hour. My main worry is: How do I end the call? It seems simple, right? Not for me. I worry that I’ll cut off a great discussion or that I’ll hurt someone’s feelings. I’ve tried, ‘Eh, let me run and catch you later’, and I’ve tried, ‘Let me let you go’….(reverse psychology). But it’s predictable and I’m sure my friends are on to me. This has caused me to be behind on goings-on. There’s only so much that can be said on text before the phone sends cheeky advice of its own (e.g. SEND AN EMAIL, DEARIE!). It’s worse when I need to end a call that I didn’t make to begin with because I think I’m being a little rude. Argh!

What I do now is make a list of folks I need to call on the weekend but….I’d still need to end the call…!! So now that I’ve confessed that somehow in the last fifteen years or so I’ve never truely acquired much needed call-ending skills, my father should be the most annoyed (as per his initial investment e.t.c).

Any sound advice on how to end a long conversation and come out smelling roses? I have money.

The bitter-sweet taste of growing up

All this ageing tastes kinda funny (courtesy of Dreamstime.com free images)

My 20s were difficult. Lots of stabbing in the dark and wrestling….mostly with myself, made for an exhausting era. In my post, ‘Arguably the right side of 30’, I expressed my relief at changing a few of my long-held beliefs.

However, I must confess that although it’s easier overall, I have some poignant concerns. Much of these concerns are out of my control so I’ll need to tap into my core (which should be more or less solid by now) to overcome the challenges. Some obvious concerns are:

  • My parents are growing old and I’m not ready to lose them (there, I said it).
  • My children will grow away from me and stop thinking I’m cool (the truth will out).
  • I dread the day a real strand of white hair appears on my head.
  • I meet more and more people younger than me (at the moment, it is pretty much 50-50).

I don’t want to get myself into a state so I’ll do the sensible thing and hope I age gracefully, physically, mentally and emotionally. The wisdom that comes with age is what I crave the most. It’s just some of the consequences I’d prefer to live without. On the plus side, I’m looking forward to a long list of great things such as:

  • Learning Spanish (I’ve decided to leave French alone).
  • Finishing my MBA (I’m halfway there).
  • Raising my kids to be adults (My son wants to be a pilot. Yes!)
  • Gaining more credibility and experience in my profession
  • Being able to mentor younger professionals (especially women, ethic minorities)
  • Exercising more as I just discovered the joys of the treadmill (My best ideas are formed there)
  • Looking back at the past and feeling no pain at all
  • Witnessing my little brother get married

These clearly outweigh my concerns. Yuppie! Life is GREAT :).

Likely Effects of Osama Bin Laden’s Death on World Economy (We hope)

I heard it first on CNN. There’s been a whole lot of rejoicing following the death of Osama Bin Laden, leader of Al-Qaeda. I personally didn’t know how to feel. I was glad – don’t get me wrong – but the sceptic in me asked the ‘now what?’ question. I’m hoping that it isn’t only justice served; I hope it also closes a terrifying era of violence and insecurity. It may even be the beginning of the consumers’ era when the world’s economy is suddenly in our favour.

Cartoon by Universal Press Syndicate 2011

In the mist of media reports and rejoicing, there’s bound to be anticipation that somehow, this man’s death has ended terrorism as we know it. I’ve decided to live in that fantasy world for a few minutes. What if in fact, Osama Bin Laden‘s death ends terrorism or at least the fear and uncertainty that comes with the threat? What will the world’s economy look like? Let me see…
Tourism: This industry saw a huge hit after 9/11. People just didn’t travel as much as they used to. If in fact terrorism is a thing of the past, this industry should benefit from it. Trans-atlantic flights are likely to be more popular and less stressful. The umpteen security checks at airports will reduce considerably and travelling will simply be…more fun. However, it’s naive to ignore the long-term effects of past decline. People may have reorganised their lives and holidays so that air travel, especially long haul flights, are minimal. Reduced travel may have also increased the use of social media and other internet technology for communication in the business world for instance. This is unlikely to revert back to the heavy travel days. As one saying goes, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. The rapid growth of globalisation is partially due to the need to work around reduced travel. And let’s not forget the cost implications.
Energy prices: The behaviour of the oil price is a peculiar thing. High prices are driven by doubt and risk. The more politically unstable oil-producing countries are, the higher the oil price. And- you guess it- the greater the profits cartels like OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) will make. With Osama’s death, there may indeed be reduced fear of terrorist attacks globally, causing oil prices to drop as has been experienced in the past week. It may also mean that prices at the pump drop too. While this is great news for consumers like us, it ‘s not fantastic news for the oil industry as a whole. If oil and other commodity prices drop, energy prices (utilities) should too. If prices drop, there’s likely to be reduced supply for two reasons:

  1. When prices drop, an industry can become less attractive for many players who may choose to leave or reduce investment in favour of moving to more profitable markets.
  2. OPEC can decide to reduce oil supply of member countries in order to force an increase in the oil price.

According to the Law of supply and demand, reducing supply will drive prices up again if demand surpasses supply. So overall, it’s a vicious cycle. Therefore, decreases in energy and oil prices may be temporal if it happens at all.

A recent article in The Economist titled, ‘Now, kill his dream’ states that Osama’s brand of brutal jihad is losing its appeal in the Arab World. Perhaps this is the case such that the seeming fantasy benefits on world economy could become a reality.

Bonus post- My top 3 posts- Jan to Apr 2011

Postaweek2011 isn't only for the swift - you can start today! Credit: Free photos from acobox.com

Erica Johnson of WordPress has thrown a post topic out there and I couldn’t resistant engaging. I’m now 33% through the year and through the Postaweek2011 challenge. I have written over 30 posts and received in excess of 3,000 hits this year alone. I’m very proud of WordPress bloggers. Success here, I think, is not hedged on who writes the best posts but on a supportive community who get to know and encourage each other to overcome blogging challenges. So after a laborious few minutes, I’ve narrowed down which posts I think are my best ones this year. It’s based on:

  • Number of comments and/or likes;
  • My personal favorites.

Unsurprisingly, these criterion were conflicting.

Post 1: Footwear, My toe and other people’s thoughts

Post 2: Another personal reflection completed…but not quite there

Post 3: Invasion of extreme sports (I am the Resistance)

The following posts are special to me because they make me smile :) :

Here’s to the next 67% of the year. Cheers!

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