The Ascent

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"I feel like I'm so far gone. This is such a disconnect from where I am and where I should be."

-Myself, June 2014. Two months before a higher state.

It's December 2006, and I am about to embark on what I'm sure will be the biggest disaster of my life. I had recently purchased tickets and reserved lodging for a weekend trip to a local ski resort for my friends, my girlfriend, and myself. The only problem is my girlfriend became my ex-girlfriend when we split up a week prior to the trip, and one of the people going on the trip is the guy she broke up with me for. But I am a BA party-going cool snowboarding guy, right? I party by night and sleep by never. I am like Batman with an energy drink. A hyper Batman. We arrive at the meeting area. My Rachel Daws arrives holding hands with Harvey Dent. I am immediately overcome with jealousy, and I am quiet the whole trip up to the mountain. Crap, I am not Batman. I am Robin.

"I need to get out of this area. I feel like every day that goes by is a slow decent backwards."

-Myself, July 2014. Four weeks prior to a higher state.

Ugh! Will they not leave me alone? I am sitting by a a fire that the resort had so nicely constructed. It was just me..the fire, and the mountain....and now my ex and Mr. Dent. We exchange pleasantries, and with a fake smile I tell them how grand of a time I am having so far. Clearly they are as well. I walk away secretly hoping one of them face plants on the snow tomorrow...once...twice...maybe fifteen times but who is counting?

I retire back to the lodge early. No party or energy drinks for this snowboarder. A healthy main course of sleep with some brooding on the side. At least I can avoid the happy couple tomorrow by going snowboarding all day...

"Maybe I should just forget about who I was before I came here."

Myself, August 2014, 2 hours prior to a higher state.

I sit at the breakfast table after a good nights brooding and finish my meal. Mrs. Daws and Mr. Dent decide it would be a good idea to sit next to me and explain how awesome their night went. I cross my fingers and think: face-plant, face-plant, face-plant!"

Breakfast is over and I find myself strapping in at the top of the chairlift. My friends are strapped in beside me and we pick our route for descent. I make the first turn down, and suddenly I am reminded why I came on this trip. This trip isn't about who is dating who, my homework, or how many drinking games I can win. This trip isn't about anything that comes before the welcome sign to the ski resort. It's about reminding me of who I am, and what I love to do.

We arrive at the chair lift and the lift attendee says "Thirty minutes until the lift closes." My friends are on a time crunch. "How many runs can we get in do you think before they close the lift?" I smile and say "one."

I have an odd custom that I decided to share with my friends that day. After every day on the mountain I climb up to this secret cliff area. You can see the busiest part of the resort off to your right, and to your left...just the snow, trees, and outlines of mountains in the distance. I hear everyone below trying to race the clock to get two or three more runs in. They are missing it. I turn my head away from the racing crowd of people and I see the sun set slowly over the distant mountains. It forms a pink and purple outline on the horizon, and I find myself instantly humbled and grateful. We sit there enjoying the view until the resort closes. The mountain reminded me of rule #1 of snowboarding that day: When you strap in to your snowboard, your strap out of the drama in your life. I realize now that I am not Batman. I am Gotham. The mountain is Batman.

"I can make the ascent, I see who I am."

Myself, one week ago, reaching a higher state.

It is August 2014, I finally get home after my hour and a half commute through the busy streets of Los Angeles, California. Each day is another sand bag tossed in the backpack I bear every day. I drag myself into my room to change out of my work clothes. I open up my closet and my snowboard somehow got past the wall of clothing and started to fall out. I catch it, and pause for a minute. It feels like an hour. I hadn't gone snowboarding for over 2 years. I used to love this...who have I become? I carry the snowboard out to the living room, put my boots on, and strap in. I am suddenly reminded of a board I saw on a snowboarding trip. It was a "Dinosaurs Must Die" snowboard. The caption on the snowboard read: "Never Forget."

I instantly remember the moment when I sat on the edge of that mountain over seven years ago. I remember the view and the people below rushing through life. They are the cars that are with me on the road...rushing to their job...rushing back from their job...repeating the same thing every day. I had become one of them.

I pull open a box labeled "Awesome movies." (This seems kind of an awkward label as if I would purposely go out and buy non-awesome ones so that I need two boxes to differentiate between awesome and non-awesome movies). Right there at the top I find the movies "Deeper" and "Further." I watch them back to back, and then look up "Higher." After watching the trailer and the Higher Unplugged series I came up with one solid thought: "This is what I am missing in life." Right then and there I developed a better motto in life, and a way to cross the crevasse I have encountered.

"I don't need a higher income. I don't need to have better material possessions than my peers. I don't need to be the envy of everyone around me. I simply need to go out and find those experiences that make me feel Higher."

-Luke Prescott, Present Day.

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