Rob and I are going on an adventure in February next year. We are off to walk the Milford Sound in New Zealand with friends. We have never done anything like this before and I’m excited to be out there in amongst the wonderful beauty of creation taking in the enormity and the beauty of it all.

I’ve heard the views are to die for and we keep hearing reports of how it’s an amazing, exhilarating adventure, We’ve decided to give it a go. In preparation, we’re going to have to do some serious training so we are fit enough to walk four days along the track. Apparently, it’s deemed medium difficulty, however, I have looked at the map and I can see a serious incline that we need to ascend and descend. The use of the word medium might be a relative term in this case.

I must admit we aren’t very fit and this is one of the reasons we committed to do the track. It provides a goal for us which is increased fitness levels. I know this is going to help us keep focused and I also know we’re very determined not to hold our fellow companions up by being the slack ones who can’t keep up.

We’ve had very mixed responses from people when we tell them about our forthcoming adventure. Some are excited for us and very encouraging (which is fantastic). Others are less excited but happy for us. Then there are those who can’t help but tell us how we’ll find it hard and there is no way they would do it at our age especially when we’ve never done anything like this before.

In fact, one couple couldn’t help but tell us how their friend broke his leg and had to be rescued suggesting we should reconsider. My gorgeous neighbour Bev, who puts me completely to shame when it comes to fitness, is cheering me on and helping me in this preparation stage. Bev is taking me on the track she power walks every day. Did I mention that her walk is a 10 kilometres power walk!!! Don’t get me wrong , I am not walking it with her every day, I meet her on Saturday and enjoy our time together. Bev flies up huge hills while still being able to talk, she powers up and down all the steep stairs and along the gorgeous bush tracks that are right near our house along our beautiful coastline.

My experience is slightly different to Bevs and I should point out that I am in my mid-sixties and beautiful Bev is in her early seventies. She is one fit woman. Whilst she powers on, I pause to take big deep breaths and let her go ahead of me. Although that sounds lovely, in reality, I’m clutching my side, bending over and praying that we are near the end. I’ve come to understand that Bev is a machine.

I know that this is going to be a challenge and my fitness levels need to improve if I’m going to succeed. Thus far, I’m enjoying the challenge and looking forward to all the benefits of fitness and the satisfaction of overcoming and conquering the track.

My trainer Cozz, who I’ve worked out with for quite some time, is also encouraging me and helping me map out a plan to have me ready to go. She’s helping me to reach the goal and complete the task. Cozz is such s great trainer, she knows what she’s talking about and is very experienced and I love having her and Bev (and others) in my corner cheering me on.

Why am I telling all you beautiful parents this story of pain, hard work, gain and satisfaction? I want to remind you that our parenting journey can be the same. If we are to reach the goal of raising remarkable children who are strong, independent successful and happy adults who contribute to society and live lives of satisfaction we have to be willing to put in the hard yards. Parenting is such a rewarding adventure and I can tell you that grandparenting is wonderful, however, there are things we need to do to make sure we walk the journey well.

1) Make sure you don’t take notice of those who want to discourage you. Don’t listen to how it is all too hard. Rather, be strong, know what your goal is and go for it. Don’t look at how big the effort is, concentrate on breaking it all down to bite size pieces because it is much easier to achieve that way.

2) Make sure you have a good trainer who knows what they’re doing so you learn well and avoid the pitfalls.

3) Have people in your corner who will be there for you when you make mistakes and who can help you get up and go again. When you don’t get it right don’t give up, get up and try again all is not lost. The war is won by winning the important battles not by winning every battle.

4) Work out what suits your family, your values and your capacity as parents. I can’t keep up with Bev all the way up the stairs and that’s OK. I can only do my best and my best is getting better. It’s not about who does it better than the other, it’s about both doing our best and having fun with each other on the way.

Those who don’t understand why Rob and I are doing this are free to tell us their thoughts, we aren’t offended by their comments, we are confident that this is right for us and we are focused and know our reasons for taking this challenge.

Keep confident as a parent in your values and why you as a family chose to do things a certain way even when it’s not the same as others. My mother always a said, ‘There is always more than one way to skin a cat.’ Sometimes what is right for one family just doesn’t work for another and that’s OK!!

Never forget to enjoy yourself even when the pain sets in, the pain just means you are getting stronger and you are about to see great results. Go the distance, don’t give in, do the hard yards you will always reap the rewards when you hang in for the long haul. Keep your eye on the prize as they say.  As a parent and grandparent, the view Rob and I now have as we watch our children raising their own children is just breathe taking. I’m so glad we kept our eye on the prize.

I’m confident that the preparation, training and some suffering we have to go through to see the magnificent view of Milford Sound in February is going to pay off big time. So, lovely friends and parents, all you’re going through now as young parents will pay off and before you know it, you will be able to sit and enjoy the view.

Be encouraged, you’re amazing and I honour you for raising the future generations of this wonderful world we all live in.