“Our mountains are at human scale”, said the man tending his garden in the north of England. “You have your Rockies, which seem simply unattainable, whereas I can get to the top of the tallest one around here in an afternoon”. He had me thinking.

I have spent a lot of time following the advice of bumper stickers. Live large, go big, bring it on.  It seems that’s what is expected, that’s where inspiration comes from, that’s how I grow – by taking on that which is, as the gardener said, ‘simply unattainable’.

It’s not just me, it’s us. I watched a video yesterday of this crazy guy jumping off cliffs into small pools of water in a river, each leap higher and more dangerous than the last. If we aren’t doing it ourselves, we are celebrating those who do. We have even elevated failure to a positive status. I have assumed it’s axiomatic that in order to really succeed I have to bite off more than I can chew.

On the other hand, the English man’s garden was about the size of my living room carpet. It was a small allotment in a larger shared space. As far as I could tell he was content and happy with his life’s dimensions.

I want to take time to consider what it means to live life at human scale. How can I invest in the small, the slow, the enough, both in myself and in those around me?  It seems to be contrarian thinking in this age of higher, faster, better.

We walked the attainable hills for a week. As advertised, we’d reach our summits by tea time – with plenty of energy and breath to spare. There are indeed other options than just going big or going home.