Roger Marolt: Roger This | AspenTimes.com
Roger Marolt
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

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Roger Marolt: Roger This

I am really proud to tell you about my New Year resolutions. They are to spend more time with friends, get more fit, take more opportunities to get into the mountains, and be more involved in good local causes. And here’s the clincher: I am going to begin next week.

More, more, more. Pay later. It’s so last year. I know what you’re thinking: “I’ll take a piece of that action, too!”

I hope that’s true and that you will join me in my thousand-step quest to fulfillment. The more the merrier, and it’s not because I want company in failing to live up to promises I am making to myself. That’s not happening. It’s because we really are going to do it all this year, and we truly are going to begin next week. And, best of all, motivation is not going to be a problem. I’m sure you want to know how this works.

I have learned a great secret over the past few years, and it’s simpler than hiring a personal trainer to keep on you or sitting all the way through another set of motivational tapes. In order to achieve any goal you have to make it meaningful. To make it meaningful, it has to be about someone or something besides you.

Look at it this way. If it’s all about you, the most you can hope to get out of these resolutions is more money, a nice butt, a decent showing for your age group in America’s Uphill race this spring, and making all kinds of new friends that have little in common with you. Now, there is a lot to be said about looking good in a pair of jeans and being able to run to the top of Aspen Mountain in under an hour, but these things are not enough. If they were, there would be a whole lot more nice butts and fast runners around here. Not that we don’t have more of these things per capita than other parts of the world, but, all in all, I don’t think the promise of these is enough to keep most people motivated for very long. There’s a lot more to life if you think about it … a little harder.

Now I’m not saying that you won’t end up with a firm fanny or a low resting pulse rate if you go about making positive changes in your life in the manner I’m suggesting. To the contrary, you probably will. You just won’t sweat it, so to speak. They will just happen as you go about your work, focusing on, ehm, bigger things.

As alluded to earlier, this plan works because of something that wise people have known and tested, time and again: Working out is suffering. Suffering for yourself is just suffering. Suffering for someone else is all together different. In fact, many times doing things for others turns out to be not suffering at all. It’s probably magic. I don’t know. I only observe the results.

Enough with that science of conscience, though. How about the specifics? The perfect time, place and reason for starting on New Year’s resolutions converge at 7:30 a.m next Sunday morning, Jan. 11, at Buttermilk Mountain. It’s the Fifth annual Hike for Hope, a community event to raise money and positive vibes to combat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a discriminating and heartless killer of children.

For those who are new to town, this is a race/casual hike/chairlift ride up the face of the most extreme/benign, ski/snowboard mountain/hill in the entire valley/world/universe. As you can see, you can make out of it about anything you like and you don’t even have to disclose to anybody what that is. What is important is that you make it to the top for breakfast at the Cliff House restaurant with several hundred of the most kind-hearted, sweaty, awe-inspiring people that our community has to offer. It’s the same every year, so I can safely guarantee this.

This year I present this event to you in a lighthearted manner. That’s because I have been recently inspired by the words of Ian Sharp, a local teenager diagnosed with this horrific disease. Yes, there is certainly enough sadness associated with a disease that preys on the truly innocent among us so that you could cry yourself to sleep every single night thinking about it. However, that makes this disease larger than life. And, it is certainly not that. Life will always be bigger. That’s what those who deal with this killer on a daily basis know and, along with raising money to fund research for a cure, getting us to understand this is a huge part of their mission.

The overall objective in curing any disease is to make life as normal as possible for its victims. When we live our lives healthily, actively, and happily while raising money on behalf of kids with muscular dystrophy, this goal is advanced tremendously. As Ian wrote in an essay about his battle with the disease and his experiences with this event, “People coming into Bumps talking to other people, smiling, waving, and signing up to hike up a mountain before the sun comes up is just plain insane! [I’m] blown away by how many people are out to enjoy this painful event.”

As an annual participant in The Hike, I can tell you that the event fosters celebration of hope as a companion to the natural sadness caused by the disease. As of yet it has not been a victory party in eradicating the disease, but it is a festival encouraging everyone of us, afflicted with muscular dystrophy or whatever else will catch up with each of us eventually, to live every day of our lives as if it is the last in which we can fulfill our resolutions to be the best we can be to each other, which results in being the best we can be to ourselves. See how beautifully it all fits together?

Next Sunday morning we’ll meet at the base of Buttermilk Mountain just after sunrise. We’ll get involved, get outside, and get up the mountain with each other for a great cause. We’ll help kids who need all the help we can give. We’ll help each other feel great about the place we live. We’ll end up feeling pretty darn good about ourselves. Resolutions resolved.