What do you do when you stumble in life? Do you sit there or do you get back up again?
I have been stumbling through life. I’ve tripped over my own feet, allowing my fears and failures to keep me from trying new things. However, today I am encouraged to maintain my confidence and strength. All because of the brave, fictional character in the book My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.
The main character was a young man who ran away from home. With only a few layers of clothes on his back, Sam hitchhiked his way to the dense, woodsy Catskill mountains to find his family’s homestead. His adventure awaits the reader as he stumbles through doubts, fears, and life-threatening stormy weather, and learns how to survive in the forest. This can easily be a metaphor of our own lives.
The author’s words drew me into the story. I could imagine the cold winds piercing against my face, and the damp rain soaking through my clothes. I sensed my own fears as Sam faced the angry hunters who prowled his camp, yet grinned at Sam’s excitement at catching his first rabbit. The writing was so real and entertaining that some readers have taken off to the Catskills in search of the place the story was set in. Yet, they would never find it. The author made it up.
You will enjoy reading this little adventure too in a comfy chair with a hot beverage, away from the elements of winter. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself several hours later in the same chair reading it to the end. At the conclusion, I was anxious to start a new adventure in my own life. I was determined that if Sam could stumble his way through life, then I could too.
Don’t Let Fear Cause You to Miss Out on Life’s Adventure
In the story, Sam did not let fear keep him from enjoying life. I had a friend who was so navigationally challenged that in order for her to drive from the church to the store, she always had to go back home first. Although her driving skills improved when the GPS was invented, had she chosen to stay home and not learned the new system, she would have missed out on many other things.
The message for all of us is that fear is a limit that holds us back and causes us to miss on life’s adventure. Take a risk. Try new things! Step out of the box. Read the story and Sam will encourage you take off to the Catskills.
Believe in yourself
For a young man, Sam had a lot of confidence. He faced challenges that could have sent him back home but he accepted them and kept on going. There have been times in my life when I allowed my own self-doubt to limit me. If only I had his confidence, I once thought. Although his struggles were different, the way you can work through the problem to come up with a solution, is something we all can learn.
In order to believe in myself, I began reciting a daily mantra. Two of them were ‘I believe in me’ and ‘I can do whatever I put my mind to’. Within a week, I could feel a change in my mind and in my attitude toward life and others. My doubts were dissipating. Reading Sam’s adventure was enough motivation for me to continue to strengthen my own belief and follow my dreams. Could you stand to strengthen your own belief muscle? Read My Side of the Mountain and get caught up in the incredible courage of a young boy’s solo adventure.
Accept yourself where you are even if you aren’t where you think you should be
When we accept ourselves where we currently are, we can enjoy life as it is given to us. Sam accepted his circumstances and surroundings, and made the most of them. He continued to find success even in the little things, just by making an extra effort.
That’s why I want you to read Sam’s adventure. You might not choose his kind of life, but your own has new things all around for you to try. If you stumble along the way, accept it and keep moving forward towards your goal.
We all have a choice. We can hold ourselves back where it’s comfortable and easy to navigate, or we can practice stumbling forward, creating a new step while discovering a whole new place to have fun.
What does your side of the mountain look like?
What are you doing to keep yourself from stumbling? Read the book, and then share what you learned here.
I found a song on YouTube to tag with this blog. The lyrics describe a man and woman at a dance. The man steps on her toes and starts to stumble and fall, but then he catches himself and although he is embarrassed by his actions, he turns it into a positive moment. This song reminded me of what happens in a lifetime because there will be times when we stumble. But what people remember is how we recovered from it. Be willing to stumble, like in this song.
Feel free to listen to it here: Stumbling by Frank Crumit