How to take the first step of a hard journey…

How to take the first step of a hard journey... by Keri Kettle

View from the first level of the Eiffel Tower, about 20 stories up – those tiny things that look like ants are people.

 I stood in the line to go through security, feeling the nerves dancing in the pit of my stomach.  I kept trying not to look up at how far I was going to have to go.  The two boys that were headed up with me were bouncing around with excitement.

In order to avoid the long lines, I was about to walk up the Eiffel Tower.  You can’t walk to the very top but to get to the second level is the equivalent of walking up a 46 story building.  Yeah, that’s a lot of stairs for a 44 year old mom who spends an awful lot of her days planted on her ass in front of a computer not working out.  I haven’t been to the gym in years.  I’m not a runner.  I’m not a power walker.  My primary exercise is walking my Basset Hound, if we go more than two blocks he starts to pant with exhaustion.

I started to think, maybe the boys could just go up on their own, it would be fine – what could possibly go wrong with two adolescent boys running around the Eiffel Tower by themselves?  I tried to remember the last time I did this, about twenty years ago- was there some kind of fencing around the stairs to keep people from falling off the side? Exactly how high IS it?  We had quickly moved to the front of the  line.  Ugh.  There was no way I could send them up alone.

This is the part where you start to make deals with yourself.  It’s going to be okay.  I will take lots of breaks.  I can take as long as I need.

That first step is only the hardest if you think about it as the first step.  I thought I was just walking through security, but I was already on the way up.

The first step was deciding I would do it.  After that, I was just moving along on a journey that I had already decided to take.  Buying the ticket, going through security, moving my way up the stairs.

We can do hard things.

Once you decide to do something hard, the doing becomes the easy part.

The flow of people walking up the stairs made it easy.   Step after step, we fell in to a rhythm, everyone smiling at each other with the gleam of shared adventure in our eyes.  There were plenty of pauses for pictures and sips of water but the hardest part was behind me.  The hardest part was standing at the bottom, looking up and deciding I could do it.

How to take the first step of a hard journey... by Keri Kettle

The way down felt like a victory march.  We jumped down off the last steps, high-fiving each other.  My son turned to me and said, “I feel so strong, like I could crush watermelons with my thighs!”

Yes, we can do hard things.  Someone get me a watermelon.

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