Last weekend saw the first proper snowfall of the year in the Lake District. My Twitter feed has since been inundated with glorious photos of the mountains in their Winter coats. It’s been so tempting to drop everything, drive up there and head for the nearest summit to experience this magical landscape for myself.
But that would be foolish. I don’t have the right kit for climbing mountains in Winter. I certainly don’t have the right skills. And although most of the photos make it look glorious, there’s the odd one or two which depict the reality of freezing temperatures, biting winds and zero-visibility.
Three out of three fails then on the #beadventuresmart scale!
I’ve had to acknowledge I’m not currently ready for summiting Winter peaks. I may be one day, but not yet. And that’s fine. I can still get out there and enjoy the outdoors – I just need to be comfortable working within my own (not other people’s) limits. Push yourself by all means but keep it fun.
In this world of instant gratification, I’ve recognised the need to slow down and progress organically. Learn the skills, upgrade my kit over time and enjoy the ride. Those who are out there enjoying the snowy mountains safely have already served their apprenticeship.
It’s hard not to feel jealous if you constantly compare yourself to what others are doing. But I’ve realised in life there will always be someone climbing bigger mountains than you. Able to withstand colder temperatures than you. Walk further than you. But just because you’ll probably never run the 100m as fast as Usain Bolt doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run. It’s ok not to be the best at something. Enjoying yourself and staying safe is what matters.
Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get to the mountains every weekend and scale iconic, snowcapped peaks. Be kind to yourself. If you’ve only managed a short walk to the shops and back today, that’s better than nothing. Every adventure starts with a single step.
So stop comparing yourself to others. Do what makes you happy. Be inspired, yes. But set your own goals and enjoy your own outdoor adventures and let others do the same, wherever you sit on the adventure spectrum.
As long as we are all getting out there in our own way, that’s what counts.