Before Your Time

by Jane Moneypenny

Slow down, you crazy child
you’re so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you’re so smart, tell me
Why are you still so afraid?

Oh, Kilimanjaro. How I both love and hate you. You challenged me in ways I never thought possible. You pushed every ounce of energy, emotion and life out of me and every time I thought I had reached that day’s destination, you presented another slope up and laughed.

And so what if I hiked 95% of the time alone as I watched people, including my own friends, run past me? I did it my way, slowly and surely. And yes, you may have knocked me down four hours from the top with your snobby altitude, but for a girl that grew up under sea level and has never climbed a mountain, I came and conquered.

2 weeks later, my mind is still mush. The memories of you are mashed together, leaving me confused and blurred, making me question if I ever experienced what I did. I feel removed, detached and almost emotionless about this grand journey. Images flash sometimes, but I still live with a heavy heart that I don’t understand.

Maybe I put too much stock in you changing my life. After all, Kilimanjaro, you are one of the 7 Summits, the roof of Africa and immortalized by Hemingway. Although the characters in The Snows of Kilimanjaro never actually try to climb the mountain, Harry goes on the safari to get his life back on track and views Kili as a symbol of truth, purity and goodness.

But did you change me? I still feel restless, unsure of the life I’m leading and the person I’m becoming. My fate is what I make of it, but I’ve found that often, no matter how hard I try, I still fall short. And that’s okay. That’s the part I need to learn. Life can’t be measured by the number of successes of grand goals, but small victories.

Kilimanjaro, I may not be back, but I’m going to continue to push as hard and make it to the top some day.

I leave with these great lyrics from Billy Joel. I need to learn from this song. I need to stop being consumed with this obsession of living my life to the fullest and cramming every adventure into every moment right NOW. And remember to enjoy the moments. The journey, not the destination.

Slow down, you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it’s so romantic on the borderline tonight
Too bad but it’s the life you leave
you’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know
You can’t always see when you’re right. you’re right

You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
but don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize,
Vienna waits for you?

-Billy Joel, Vienna