As a runner for over 30 years, I have lived in multiple homes with hilltop views which means I always finish my runs uphill. I learned from a young age to exceed my limits. It became my nature. A close friend and writing collaborator instilled in me the importance of looking upward and forward.
During a particularly rough period of my life, I started picking up pennies or other coins on my runs. I was looking down and not up or forward. I became obsessed with finding these coins and began collecting them almost on a daily basis. I believed that they were signs that I was on the right path. They became my symbols of hope and trust.
A few years ago, when my two boys and I were on a Holiday River Expeditions rafting trip, we had a chance to go on a family run before dinner. One path went down and the other took a sharp turn and headed upward. We chose the downhill path and soon hit a dead end. It was a sign for us to remember to choose the high road. Following the uphill path, within minutes we were standing on top of a plateau gazing nearly 360 degrees with the Colorado River below us.
Then New Year's Day came in 2014 and we were skiing at the Park City Mountain Resort. My boys suggested a New Year's resolution for me. "Mom, you need to stop looking for pennies and look up." To this I said yes, but later when we took a chair lift to the 9,200-foot summit, I found a penny on the floor of the ski shop there. I still felt the need for them as symbols on my journey, our journey.
Now the boys and I are winding down our summer in Park City and our free time together has included trail runs through the towering aspens of the Cottonwood Canyons, reaching some of the highest peaks in the Wasatch Mountains. We truly engaged the mantra, take the high road, the scenery is better.
I realize that my boys taught me the very lesson I worked so hard to instill in them. It's time to stop intentionally looking for pennies. No more looking down; always upwards and forward.