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Wellness / October 22, 2017

On mental health: A letter from our founder

Written by: Kevin Linderman

A few weeks ago, we heard the news that renowned climber Hayden Kennedy had taken his own life at the age of 27. His suicide came after he lost his girlfriend, climber Inge Perkins, in a Montana avalanche.

The news hit the Shoulders of Giants team hard. Such a talent. Such a sad story. Kennedy was already reeling from the loss of two of his good friends who had died while climbing in previous years. Prior to the incident, he posted in one of his blogs “climbing is either a beautiful gift or a curse.” Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends that were directly and indirectly impacted by Hayden and Inge’s passing.

To all our subscribers, I would like to call attention to the issue of mental health that we all face day to day. We are all on our own mental fortitude adventure in this game called life. No one can truly understand what someone else is going through. And the more time you spend on this Earth, the more tragedy, obstacles, and failures you will experience.

I’ve personally failed more than I would like to admit it and suffered the loss of several people close to me. But it’s also important to remember the amazing sunsets over the ocean with my wife and family, the birth of my children, the music I’ve played with friends, the mountains I’ve summitted, and countless other wonderful moments I’ve had the opportunity to experience over my lifetime.

If you are suffering from overwhelming sadness, stuck in a rut, feeling boxed in, it can be difficult to see the forest through the trees. We all have to figure out how to navigate these tough times. For me personally, the various personal challenges that I have put myself through, like triathlons, mountain bike races, Jiu Jitsu and others have presented a safe microcosm of life where I can prepare, succeed, fail, and overcome, all in a matter of minutes or hours. The lessons I’ve learned from these experiences help me to manage through my own personal failures and obstacles I may face at work and at home.

Our mental health is everything. What’s shocking is when someone that appears to be taking life by the horns leaves us all too soon. It’s impossible to explain and comprehend. At the end of the day, I think Hayden’s Dad, Michael Kennedy, an accomplished climber in his own right, said it best: “An awareness of mortality prompts us to focus on what’s important: developing a strong community of family and friends,” he wrote. I couldn’t agree more which is why I feel compelled to address this issue with the Shoulders of Giants community.

So make sure to touch base with friends and loved ones. Reach out to the people around you. Keep those bonds strong and know that tomorrow brings new opportunities even though today may have been a tough one to get through.

Do you have any questions or comments about this piece? Share them with us at [email protected]

about the author

Kevin Linderman

Kevin Linderman is the founder and Chief Adventure Officer for Shoulders of Giants. Kevin has spent his entire professional career in and around the field of information technology, but has always been an avid outdoor enthusiast and a seeker of knowledge.

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