I don’t live in a real mountain town, I’m not a professional adventurer of any sort, and I didn’t know Hayden Kennedy or Inge Perkins, but this piece, “A Tragedy In The Mountains Highlights Pain Facing The Young,” hit pretty close to home and left a real mark. There are a lot of thought-provoking threads that writer Timothy Tate wove into this piece but this is the one of the most poignant—and relevant—ones that I pulled out of it:
“The craving to be noticed, to be validated, to hold prestige among peers swirls around prolifically in the psyches of our young,” Tate writes. “It isn’t new but here it takes a different form. Heroic greatness escapes most, but you don’t have to be “great” to matter or to register positively in the lives of others. Peace can be found in knowing that who you are is plenty good enough. …The real trial isn’t in ascending the peak or skiing a gnarly fall line; it’s dealing with the mundaneness of grinding out daily existence and doing it in a way that gives us meaning.”
I think that search for meaning often gets clouded in today’s world of likes, favorites, retweets and various other forms of virtual validation. Instances of loneliness and depression are rising rampantly despite the fact we’re connected in more ways than we can possibly count. How do shift that paradigm? How can we seek—and find—personal fulfillment without alienating our peers? How can we learn to embrace our own imperfections rather than feel obligated to pursue fabricated ideals? There are questions to think about, talk about amongst our respective communities, and act upon, regardless of where you live.
A version of this post first appeared in the morning shakeout, my weekly email newsletter covering running, writing, media and other topics that interest me. Sign up here to get it sent to your inbox first thing every Tuesday morning.