This was the climb of our life. Last year my family and I went to Paris for 3 weeks. We stayed in a beautiful little house in the middle of Paris. An added bonus was that it – surprisingly – came with a nice little garden. My husband was working at the Sorbonne while we were there but we took time off to visit the sites too.
We went to a beautiful garden in the middle of the city and noticed that there was a quaint little tower at the very top of a high hill (picture below). At first glance the hill seemed extremely rocky and impossibly unreachable. We weren’t even considering getting to the tower until we noticed that there were some people there. We couldn’t see them very well because they were tiny and very far away. However, on careful inspection, we realised that yes, there were bodies moving around up there and yes, they were real.
But how did they get up there? Surely the climb was impossible and there were no bridges or ridges or anything to get up there!
On ground level we circled the vicinity of the tower and noticed something that looked like a bridge (picture below). But how did you get from where we were – ground level – to that bridge which seems like a hundred yards above our heads!
We walked around some more and realised that there was a road – and another bridge (on the opposite side of the park to where we were) that led up to the second bridge which seemed to lead up to the tower somehow. By now we’d already walked about half an hour looking for something we didn’t know we wanted to find; trying to get to a place we didn’t even know we wanted to be. We – and the kids (below) realised that it would take at least another half hour to get to the tower, but since we’d already started on our journey we committed to it.
It was a warm day and it seemed to be a walk in futility. There weren’t many people heading our way (as you can see by the absence of others in all the pictures), but we kept going because we wanted to see where this was heading. The path wasn’t clear because by the time we got to the middle point (we guessed) we could no longer see the tower nor the path we were originally on. There were large trees on either side of the path we were now on (picture below), but we followed it nevertheless.
Finally we came to a point where there was a fork in the road (picture below). We honestly had no idea which one we should take. We randomly decided to go right. The climb continued.
Finally we reached the tower. You can see the kids in the picture below. My son, exhausted from his walk, sat down straight away. It was then we realised that (when we looked below from where we’d come) both forks led to the tower.
It had taken us more than an hour to get from seeing the hard impossible cliffs of this:
To seeing the beautiful, soft sights of the image below (view from the tower). However, we’d made it because we stuck with it. Even the kids (though tired) were intrigued to see where the path would lead and what the tower would look like from the inside. Now people on the original road in the park below were seeing tiny versions of us walking around inside the tower. We wondered if they were also thinking if we were real and how on earth we’d gotten up there. That little black dot under the pink tree in the middle of the picture below is someone who might have been thinking that very thought.
I learned some very important lessons from this trip:
Sometimes you don’t even know where you want to be until you get close enough to notice it.
Application: embrace new experiences.
Sometimes the path to self-discovery and self confidence is not as clear cut as we’d like. The path could be hidden on the opposite side of where we are right now.
Application: never stop searching.
Sometimes we lose sight of our focus in the middle of our ‘journey’ because of various trees (life experiences) blocking the path from view.
Application: keep going/building, the focus will become clear again.
Forks will appear in your path. You’ll have to make decisions – sometimes snap decisions based on gut feelings.
Application: don’t put off making decisions even when they seem difficult. Trust your instinct.
Sometimes the path you take to building self confidence doesn’t matter. Things may be slightly different depending on which path you’re on. Your surroundings may seem varied and experiences on the road you’ve taken may look different on the surface. What matters is that you’ve taken a path and stuck to it. The destination is the same.