This weekend I practiced MAXIMUM ENTHUSIASM with great success. My 10 year-old step-daughter, Evelyn, wanted to hike the King on Saturday, and then again on Sunday. Her enthusiasm was infectious and reminded me of my New Year’s Resolution to be more enthusiastic.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how good we have it. When we’re wearing the glass slipper, we hardly remember that at midnight we just might turn into a pumpkin. The key to happiness is to be aware of our good fortune. When life is good, we must celebrate it.

So when my step-daughter decided she wanted to tackle the King, I was enthusiastic. She asked how long I thought it would take. “An hour probably,” I told her. “But we can bring snacks and take as long as you want.”

She was game. After a hearty lunch of grilled cheese with a chocolate brownie back, we hit the trail. Even while we hiked up the steep trail she kept up her usual banter. “This is awesome,” she reminded me.

I looked around and remembered that she was right. This was pretty awesome. The ice cream scoop of Mt. Rainier, just 14 miles away, looked close enough to lick. Mt. Adams, a little further still, looked like one of those self-help posters you see at the chiropractor’s office, reminding you that no matter how hard the climb, the view is always worth the hike.

Steady, steady we climbed. While normally I’d be lost in my own breath, yesterday I listened to Evelyn. THIS IS EPIC, she said. Then, about half-way up the climb, when most people start to wonder why they ever decided to hike the King, she told me something amazing. She said, “This is the best day of my entire life.”

Top of the King with my two favorite people

You know something? She was right. It was the best day of my entire life too. Just look at where we were. Her father is alive and healthy; she’s growing older and smarter and faster; I get to spend my days in this place.

Sometimes the enthusiasm of a girl is infectious. Sometimes we must be willing to accept our muse where we find her. It took us 35 minutes to hike to the top of the King. That’s not a bad time by anyone’s standards. Pretty soon I won’t be able to keep up with Evelyn. For now, I’m relishing these moments with great enthusiasm.

15 responses »

  1. Thanks for the reminder and for sharing hers and your enthusiasm. Over the years we have carried multiple pairs of skis, offered words of encouragement and have literally pulled children up that mountain. We have shared their joy of getting to the top with them, and have wiped a few tears too–but nothing the magic candy pocket couldn’t help. Just last week I received a call from my youngest, his voice filled with excitement. “Mom, I am at the top of Silver King! Can you see me, I am waving!” While I couldn’t see his wave, I was thrilled he wanted to share his accomplishment. Congratulations to Evelyn, her story will help me to remember that any day out there is truly epic.

  2. Wow! I knew this day would come soon because I could see her relishing the skiing life. I am so proud of her. Her enthusiasm is infective, maybe, just maybe I will follow in her footsteps soon. What a special moment and what is even more special is that you recognized it!

  3. Love this reminder to be more enthusiastic. Your stepdaughter brought that sense of wonder to your hike. That’s a precious perspective that we can all use. I’m inspired to be more grateful (even in difficult times there is usually much to be grateful for; check out the book One Thousand Gifts) and to approach even known experiences with a fresh sense of seeing/experiencing for the first time.

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  5. Oh I love this post! Kids can really throw out zingers that cut through our adult minds full of too much unimportant details. Now let’s hope your stepdaughter can say that about a lot more days to come–ideally every day. also took me back to hikes up the King, been too long, maybe I’ll tackle it again this season if I can break away from work, the desk, and computer for long enough….trying to figure out how to apply adventure to my technical editing routine, that requires tedious attention to detail and, yes, routine. A challenge!

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