As hikers, we sometimes get the honor of being able to look behind us and see the path we have walked to get where we are. Literally, sometimes when you get to the top of a mountain, you can look back down and see the bottom of the valley you just climbed out of.
This is part of the awe of climbing mountains to me. I spend hours struggling in a haze of trees, sweat, and heavy breathing. Sometimes it feels like the trail will never stop climbing. While I enjoy pushing myself to the limit, this part is frequently agonizing.
Until the trail does indeed stop climbing and I emerge out of the green tunnel of trees. And, in that moment, when I can look behind myself and see so clearly all that I have just accomplished, all of the agony seems so very worth it.
Something similar happens when I reach a new goal in my career. In some ways, the climb to my professional, musical goals seems much longer and at points more agonizing than any trail. But at the points when I give a successful performance or get accepted into a school or win a competition, I can look back and see where I have come from and all that I have accomplished.
And it is all so very very worth it.