Home > Everything Else, Work Life > …top of the mountain

…top of the mountain

I met an interesting person in my travels that gave me cause to stop and review priorities. I walked past a random stranger at an airport and was asked how I was doing. Of course, I am not used to random acts of kindness, generosity or pleasantry. My standard smart-ass response to someone asking me how it is going, is “every day above ground is a good day.”

As I finished my retort, I looked at a man in his seventies (maybe older) wearing a hat with a combat patch from the same infantry unit that I served in, back when I was younger, stronger and faster (just to name a few). He looked right at me and told me that he could not agree more. So we got to chatting about randomly useless topics and before I knew it, he was sharing his life story with me. Usually, I disengage and just walk away, but for this old Marine, I could not do that – I was compelled to listen.

He talked about his military service, the places he went, the things he did and the nightmares he still has…college, getting married, burying his wife..etc. Throughout his storytelling he had conveyed a sense of accomplishment, failure and cycles of learning – this dude sucked me into his story. The thing that compelled me to stay engaged was his ethos on personal accomplishment. Simply put, when he felt he had accomplished a certain personal or career goal – he just stopped what he was doing and started from scratch doing something else. The paradigm seems so darn crazy but to him it made sense.

His reasoning was simple. Every mountain has one peak, every pyramid – one apex, every skyscraper one top. Once reached, you can either wait to be toppled by someone/something else – or you can just get down and find something new climb. It is not about the destination, but instead, the journey. Then he sheepishly looked at me and said “hell what do I know, I’m just some old man…”.

We both smiled and parted ways.

What will you do when you reach the  top?

…make wise choices,


  1. smerusi
    April 15, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for sharing Stan. Thought provoking for sure.

  2. smerusi
    April 15, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Thanks for sharing Stan. Very thought provoking.

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