Resolve

In 2018 – I resolve to write more.

That one’s been a long time coming; in fact so long that I’m sure the people who used to stop by here on a semi-frequent basis would do so only now for the same reason you go to a museum. Pay your respects, linger a little longer when something spies your interest and then move on to something a little more current – or just grab a bite to eat.

Every year I come up with a half-dozen New Years Resolutions. I pick six because it seems likely one will stick. Over the last few years, I’ve found very few made it anywhere near the finish line likely because I simply lost interest.

There was one year when I resolved to not watch movie trailers for a full year. Those hopes were dashed exactly one week later when I settled down to watch the Pats AFC Championship game and came face-to-face with a Deadpool preview. As a long-time movie junkie, it’s hard enough to suppress the urge to click everytime someone posts the latest link to their Facebook page but when studios see fit to release 10-second teasers for 2-minute trailers for 3-hour epics coming 6-months from now every 35-seconds or so; avoiding all the hopeful noise becomes a fool’s errand.

This year I aim to keep it simple stupid and actually do a few things that will be good for me. Sure – I could eat a little better but I don’t nosh half-bad in the first place so that’s a wasted resolution. Also, I could get in a little better shape but I’m already hitting the gym 3-4 times a week for about an hour or so each time; all in my bid to just keep equilibrium between good bod and Dad bod. As long as I maintain that routine, I’m resting somewhere comfortably in the middle.

So this year, rather than choose six resolutions I’ll fail at – I chose three that I think will all make it to the end. One is rooted in common-sense, one is for fun and the last one I absolutely need to do just for me.

First comes common-sense.

In 2018 – I refuse to text and drive. Look, this has never been a major issue of mine BUT it is absolutely something I’ve done enough infrequent times to realize I need to quit while I’m ahead (if that’s an oxymoron than what do you expect from a moron). I don’t carry on major conversations but I have been guilty of the one-hand read & response and while I always keep my eyes on the road, clearly my hands aren’t TEN and TWO. Bottom line – it can wait and so shall I.

As for fun, over the last few years I’ve been bitten enough by the hiking bug to realize it’s something I really enjoy. I kinda’ sorta’ wish I had been doing this all along – especially since as a young boy, my Uncle Ron and Aunt Sharon used to invite me along their hikes up New Hampshire’s Mt. Chocorua – a pike I late ascended with my parents as well. That’s when I was younger and after that it was all sea level for the many, many years that spanned in between until about four years ago when I discovered Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, MA and the spring-time hikes up and down our local Mt. Wachusett.

Two years ago I made my first ascent up Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire and hooked on the view the moment we crested the tree line. I’ve been back numerous times since for it’s modest hand-over-hand challenge which at times really makes sure you’re paying close attention. While I love the challenge of these climbs, I find they make for a better experience when going along with company – especially since peaks like Mt. Monadnock offer cool local watering holes like The Lab & Lager as a nice treat when you’ve finally made it back down.

Last year, I attempted to climb Mt. Washington in June – shortly after I turned 45. On the morning of, temperatures promised high-60’s at ground-level. That said, we eventually hiked to a point (about an hour & 1/2 in) where suddenly the air took a turn for the ominous. Stopping at a quaint rest station – my small group layered on the winter gear due to reports we heard from fellow climbers that ice lay in wait up ahead. Standing in the relative warmth of a small wooden ranger’s cabin, my eyes found a wall sized mural dedicated to the memory of the many souls that tried and died on the mountain. Names, dates and reasons ran ceiling to floor and the message was heard loud & clear. Heed Mother Nature’s sage advice: Keep your wits and common sense about you, be careful and for goodness sake – WEAR YOUR JACKET!!!

As I read on, the day grew noticeably darker. I peered out a nearby window and saw dark clouds pouring off the mountain, filling in the path where we were headed onward and upward. With our protective shells firmly in place, we headed out of June and hiked straight into January; finding much more than ice above. Freezing rain, snow, frozen fog and the occasional airborne Yeti came hurtling our way. As we headed up Lion’s Head path, I spied a mammoth edifice emerging from the mist above. This rocky formation absolutely resembled the fearsome King of the Jungle – thus earning the trail its name. As it stared down at us, it dared us to hike further.

About a half mile from the top, we stopped at a plateau to rest and strategize. Already buffeted by 70 mph wind gusts that made our ascent along a frozen ridgeback extra treacherous, we could tell the winds at the summit would pack an extra punch. While the summit station was only a 1/2 mile away (and promising warmth and food) – that small stretch promised some of the more arduous conditions yet. The three of us weighed our options. We didn’t want to go forward but the way back was no better. Still – tracing our steps felt like an inconvenience while plowing forward could potentially be one of those decisions that gets your name etched on a ranger’s station wall. Ultimately, we chose wisely and made our way back – steadily (and slowly).

I remember two things about my return to Earth. Coming out of the woods all decked out in wind cutting shells and three layers of warmth while confronting girls starting their hikes in yoga pants and T-shirts is never not a surreal sight.

Secondly, I asked our companion Scott – “Can I really say I hiked Mt. Washington if I never made it to the top?”

“Dude – you hiked the Hell our of Mt. Washington”, was his reply.

But in 2018 – I resolve to get it done, son. I’m going back and this time I’m hitting the top, dammit!!! Who’s with me?

Finally – comes my third resolution, which I’ll spend so much less time writing all about because I kinda’ sorta’ just made my point.

In 2018, I resolve to write more – especially right here on my Blog. This resolution calls for at least one post a week. Some weeks will feature more. None will feature less. They won’t all be this long but I promise I’ll always have something to write about.

I think I walked away from this place because I feared nobody cared to read what I wrote or hear what I had to say. That may be but I realize that while every writer wants to know there is an equal and willing reader out there, I’m doing this stuff for me too. It does my mind and body good.

So in 2018, you’ll get to read all about it.