Don’t fear the reaper

It’s amazing what a few close encounters with the grim reaper will do to a person’s perspective on life. Kilo_2

Having just returned from two amazing, life-changing weeks in Tanzania, Africa, I’m already seeing a few changes in my thinking. To wit:

– Who really cares about professional sports? I’d like to think I’ll always root for the Jets and Mets, but getting agitated about them (or caring about whether the Yankees or Giants do poorly) seems so trivial now.

– Politics is fascinating, but the world is out of control and I can’t believe any Republican or Democrat can make any difference. This country needs a third party in the worst way.

– Family trumps everything else. When you’re on the side of a raw and rugged 19,000 ft mountain and struggling to put one foot in front of another, a lot of life’s more superfluous issues simply fade away. And, one realizes that all that really matters is family. First, last and always. Great friends and a great job are important to be sure, but not fundamental. Family trumps all else.

And, life’s hassles, such as train, plane and traffic delays, disagreeable businesspeople and inane blog posters no longer seem like the big deal they once were.

My close calls included an almost uncontrollable slide
off the side of Mt. Kilimanjaro and battling the combined effects of
high altitude sickness and total exhaustion. Both came close to killing
me. But, the incidents also cleared my mind and thinking.

Will I still bitch and moan? Of course. Will I still focus on minutia?
Sure. But, facing the grim reaper not once, but twice, and still
managing to persevere and climb a 19,000 ft peak is an amazing and
liberating experience.

So, note to self: the next time you find yourself becoming agitated by
life’s more banal occurrences, think back to Kili and those close
calls. Then remember that life’s joys (like family, great friends and a
good laugh) far outweigh the seemingly endless hassles and hardships of
day-to-day existence.

Enough of the reflections. Look for a series of Africa-related image and reputation blogs to follow…

5 thoughts on “Don’t fear the reaper

  1. Come on, Rep. Not even a brush in with the grim reaper will keep you from being miserable about the Mets come August. Nice cover, but I don’t believe you. Congrats on the climb; welcome home.

  2. Steve,
    Great observations, and well come to the other side of life. Hope your words spur reflection among the sports addled; the politically stunted; and the single-minded business climbers.
    Looking forward to your African imagery.