Just over a week ago it was my Channelversary – the name that is fondly given to the day you took on the little strip of sea between England and France and won. Or should that be, the day the Channel let me beat her because she was always in control of the outcome not me. I remain forever grateful that on the 2 September 2015 she let me cross her sea.
One of the things I never expected before I took on my Channel Challenge was how many parallels there were going to be with IVF. If I had, maybe I’d never have done it. There’s the physical and mental toughness needed for the training; there’s The Wait (like the Two Week Wait) you have to suffer through before you get to swim; and then there’s the acceptance that ultimately nature will decide your fate not you. If the Channel won’t let you cross her, there’s nothing you can do.
And now I’ve realized that climbing mountains is just the same as swimming seas and conceiving babies. At Christmas I successfully climbed Kilimanjaro in Africa and now I’ve just come back from two weeks in the Alps, the culmination of which I had hoped to summit Mont Blanc. But the weather’s been unseasonably warm, the rock fall has become too dangerous, and although I had a wonderful time climbing smaller peaks – and can now confidently strap on a pair of crampons and wield an ice axe – the White Mountain remains unclimbed, unconquered.
I often wonder why I transposed my pursuit of motherhood onto open water swimming and, now, I am asking that question of myself again in relation to scaling mountains. Maybe it’s because me and nature have a date with destiny and I want to prove that she will sometimes let me win. At the moment it feels like we’re on a score draw. Two to me (The Channel and Kilimanjaro) and two to her (IVF and Mont Blanc). So here’s the question: who will score next? Who is ultimately going to win?
I am coming to realise that we are too focused on destinations and not enough on journeys. You enjoyed the Alps, as I have this year. It seems that you should cherish that and not get frustrated because the weather prevented you reaching your chosen destination (summit). I am currently in the same dilemma, as I am two days into an eight day cycle ride across France from the Channel to the Med. I realise that I need fewer challenges (destinations) in my life and more adventure (journeys). It is not easy to make the transition.
You are so RIGHT Rod. I had exactly the same conversation with someone else yesterday, and you have articulated it so well. I am trying to focus more and more on the journey of life (but I also know that I will always be someone who wants to get to the destination too…). Enjoy the rest of your trip and see you soon. Looking forward to hearing about all your recent journeys (and destinations) Jessica x
Well done Jessica! I thought of you when I read recently that someone had died trying to swim the channel. Did you see that news? Love Tina x
I did! It’s so sad but these extreme sports all have their dangers, you’ve just got to try and be and safe as you can be. Hope all is well with you Tina and you’ve had a lovely summer. Jessica x
Well you’re a success in my book 100% for inspiring so many women around the world. I am bestowing a virtual gold medial for your fortitude! Thanks for sharing your story and lessons learned along the way. xo
Bless you Pamela. A gold medal from you is one I’ll wear with pride! J x
You’re regularly an inspiration to me as I take on life’s mountains. We never know quite where that next summit will be or what will be revealed when the clouds are parted, or we climb above them. Rachelxxx