This Monday I got to experience the flipping of another decade. I’ve entered the 40’s, yet I still feel like I’m in my 30’s…or 20’s for that matter. Maybe it’ll catch up with me someday but for now I’m living life without letting a psychological number make me feel old. I hate it when people blame lifestyle changes on age or changes within their control (weight, being out of shape, etc.). Sure there are many debilitating issues that can create barriers in life but it’s up to us as individuals to overcome those challenges.
So let’s back up to Sunday, Father’s Day. JoAnna surprised me with a new Traeger smoker in the front yard. What an awesome wife! Then I spoke 4 times at Church on the Ridge, giving my Blind Descent presentation. I recently revamped the slides to include more video from Everest, military and television. The feedback was great and I was able to sign a lot of books between services. It was a big, emotional day but the impact was huge and that’s all that matters. My 2015 is starting fill up as I’m getting a lot of requests to travel around to speak in various parts of the US and Canada. I’m also having JoAnna be a part of some of the presentations since her perspective as a supportive and faithful wife is very impactful for others to hear.
Monday was my official birthday and I knew something was up so I was giving JoAnna a hard time, teasing her as we drove to what she called a ‘date night dinner’. What I didn’t realize was what magnitude she went to make my 40th as special as it was. She rented out a local wine cellar in Snoqualmie and had 40-50 of my friends waiting there. I figured I was going to have a small surprise party or something but when I walked in and saw all the people I was in shock for a moment. It is such a blessing to have so many good friends. I’m not the type of person that likes ‘me’ days but I got over that really quick and embraced the moment. JoAnna is beyond amazing and I truly don’t know what I did to deserve her.
I’ve had a surprise birthday party with lots of friends, took a limo to see the Seahawks practice and went to the Fray concert. Friday I’m driving a Nascar type car around a track and in a few weeks I’m flying an acrobatic airplane. So far 40 is great!
Last week JoAnna and I flew to New York, where I was on Anderson Cooper to discuss the release of Blind Descent. We flew in a few days to enjoy the city. We stayed in the Soho district and went shopping, which JoAnna is very talented at. We ate at some nice restaurants and made sure to take in the fresh pasta that you can really only find on the east coast. On Sunday we took the subway down to Time Square and attended Hillsong Church. It was very intense with a powerful message from Pastor Carl. We are huge fans of Hillsong and will attend whenever we can as we recently went to Hillsong Melbourne during our Australia trip in Feb. We stopped in a Barnes & Noble and saw Blind Descent on the shelf for the first time. It was a cool moment to realize that I was an actual author!
On Monday we woke up early and went to the Today show where we made a sign for the kids to see as we immersed ourselves in the crowd. We also got standby tickets to Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers. During the band setup JoAnna was able to give Seth a signed copy of Blind Descent, which was pretty cool….hopefully he reads it. On Wed afternoon I was scheduled to be on AC360 so we showed up early for makeup, which I need plenty of. While we were in the ‘green room’ waiting to head down to the studio Dr. Drew walked by. I called him over and we had a nice conversation. JoAnna was beside herself since she grew up listening to him on the radio in SoCal and is now a counselor. We went downstairs and as I was getting my microphone put on Anderson walked up, introduced himself and thanked me for coming on the show. We then sat and had a conversation about my Everest experience with the cameras rolling. It was pretty casual and Anderson was very intrigued with my story since he has interest in Everest and he recently went snow-blind while on the water in Portugal. I spoke of my faith and the miracle that occurred on Everest but none of that made the cut for the portion that aired. Either way it was great to meet Anderson and tell my story to the CNN viewers.