Words of inspiration adorn a weathered gray pillar on my old college campus back east: “Climb high, climb far, your goal the sky, your aim the star.”
This message of motivation to students launching themselves toward adulthood can apply to anyone.
But let’s stop for a moment. Messages like “Aim for the sky,” or “Set your goals high”—if overeagerly embraced—can lead to discouragement when things don’t go as planned. We also need to remember the idea of “two steps forward, one step back.” Making true progress means learning from setbacks along the way.
For those of us with family members who require extraordinary support, whether due to developmental or cognitive differences, dementia, physical disabilities, or other exceptional challenges, it’s tough to gauge what level to aspire to.
Some of us may aim for our our family member to achieve the simplest of language skills. Others may hope a loved one can independently feed himself. Another may work to help a loved one gain the strength and coordination to walk unaided. Countless things can be set as targets to aim for.
Goals exist on a sliding scale. My severely autistic son can scoot up a steep trail like a mountain goat, but things like speaking clearly and controlling his impulses feel impossible. Another friend is an advanced thinker, but it’s difficult to see that at a glance, because she is trapped in a body that makes it physically difficult to get language out.
Whatever your life status at the moment, aim high enough to feel you’re moving forward, but don’t set impossible goals that will immobilize you in a sense of failure. In really difficult times, getting up, moving through the day, and maybe claiming some self care time outdoors or offering love and care to others is aiming high enough.
This week’s Hike Notes, Goldsworthy Spire to National Cemetery Overlook, features the inspiring, sky-piercing work Spire by environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy, as well as a sublime view of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay from the National Cemetery Overlook.
The long list of Hikes can be found on the Quick View Hike List and on the main Hikes page. All past Insights posts can also be viewed in the Insights/Hike Update News archives.
Check the Home page for the broader background story. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photo galleries at the bottom of each hike page! Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Please feel free to share.
New this week:
Hike Notes 113: Goldsworthy Spire to National Cemetery Overlook
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.