In our twenties, my ex-husband and I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Before the climb, we stayed a couple of nights at the Marangu Hotel, a faded resort at the base of the mountain. And while there, we met the owner, Miss Erica Laani. Miss Erika was a tiny woman, who must have been in her eighties, and who had climbed the mountain five times. As we set out on the first morning of the climb, Miss Erika, cautioned, “You must take it ‘Pole Pole,’ slowly, slowly.”
It was good advice. “Kili” is not a technical climb, but it’s over 19, 000 feet high. We needed to move slowly in order to adjust to the altitude. For three days, we moved at a leisurely pace, stopping frequently to rest and admire the scenery. Even still, we felt the effects of the altitude. By the morning of the fourth day, and the ascent to the summit, I felt as though I had the flu; I was queasy, weak, and very tired. But all that stopping and resting and plodding along paid off: I’ll never forget the view from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Pole pole. Over the years, I’ve often needed to remind myself of that important lesson. I am an impatient woman. And impulsive. My natural inclination is to rush through life. Particularly the unpleasant parts. Like now, for instance. I am so ready to move on, to stop feeling sad, to find somebody new. I want to put this time behind me and march headlong into my next adventure. Where is the next love of my life? Surely, he must be just around the next corner!
Which is how I ended up, kind of by accident, signing onto a dating website tonight. I didn’t mean to. I was under the impression that I could fill out the personality profile, find out some cool information about myself, and then wait a while before actually signing up. Apparently that’s not how this website works. The minute I hit “submit” on the personality quiz, the site started generating matches for me. Within minutes, nine men could see my incomplete profile. This, of course, sent me into a bit of a panic. First of all, I had no intention of signing up just yet. And second, I didn’t have any fabulous pictures to post.
Can you tell I’m a Pisces? Here I am, once again, swimming off in opposite directions. The wise Sally would have refrained from taking the personality quiz. The wise Sally would have spent the evening working on her blog. The wise Sally would have spent time writing in her journal and reflecting on her growth. The impulsive Sally, however, had different plans.
It’s a bit like the time I hit “Sign Up Now” for the NaNoWriMo novel writing challenge. (Sure I have time, with three kids and a full time job, to write a 50,000 word book in the next month!) But once I signed up, I was determined to meet the challenge. (It’s a great experience, by the way).
And so maybe it’s too late for waiting. “The funeral meats” and all that. But I solemnly swear to take it “Pole Pole” as I get to know the next love of my life.