By Scott Zielsdorf
ISSUES EDITOR

My brief time spent attending Christan youth conferences taught me a concept called the “the mountaintop moment”, which in essence is the feeling of an emotional high one gets from an enlightening experience. The idea being that time spent in an inspiring, emotional and energy-filled space such as a youth conference would give you that mountaintop high. This is usually followed by crashing back into the valley below – that valley being regular life.

Well, my mountaintop moment occurred on a literal mountaintop, near the Whistler’s Peak of Jasper National Park to be exact. I found myself sitting on a particularly large rock, waiting for my friend to catch up from further down the trail. It was at that moment I was able to really take in the breath-taking sights before me. In that brief moment it was just me, a rock, a crazy view and my inner monologue; which I’m sure said “wow… look at that view,” then proceeded to contemplate existence and my place in it all…but mostly the view.

With the current global pandemic, stress of a busy school-time schedule and pressure to find a solid practicum looming over me… it’s been hard to catch a break. In many ways 2020 is the year of crushing emotional pressure, especially as it marks the nearing completion of my studies at NAIT.

But it was there on that mountain that I truly felt like I could take my mask off (literally) and just breathe for a moment. To forget about all other stuff and – at the risk of sounding too spiritually “enlightened” – simply exist in that space. Nothing else mattered for that brief period of time. I know it sounds like a lot, especially for someone merely sitting on a big rock. Sometimes you need those simple moments to help put everything in perspective.

It is worth mentioning that the “mountaintop moment” isn’t entirely a good thing, so much as it is something to be expected. We’re all human, we all have emotions and we’re all undeniably controlled by them. There are going to be times where you feel you’ve hit your lowest low, and other times where you’re at an all time high. Can we really help which we’re feeling at any given time? Maybe.

Maybe it just takes moments like intentionally climbing that mountain to get a break from it all (literally or figuratively speaking).

If there’s anything this new pandemic life has helped me realise, it’s that you have to appreciate the simple things in life, and hold onto those things that help reinforce your own normal amidst the “new normal”.

Maybe it’s going for a walk in the river valley, turning off the news for a bit (I know, the editor of a newspaper telling you to stop consuming news, the irony is not lost on me) or finding some other activity to help build you up – rather than tear you down further.

Some days it feels as if COVID-19 has us all trapped in that valley, but if we take the time to climb back up we might all be able to reclaim some of our own personal normal, and get a clearer view from above, if even for a moment.