At our fabulous Sun Theatre I once saw a film about Mt Everest and the incredible efforts and achievements by those that climbed it or (sadly) died trying. I remember thinking at the time that I wasn’t as impressed or as in awe as I felt I should have been.

Here were hundreds of wealthy people, jetting across the world to undertake what was, on the surface, this challenge of extreme physical and mental endurance, yet underneath they were displaying their extreme privilege, and costing more than money when you consider the impact to the environment and the lives of the locals in ways that arguably were as negative as they were unnecessary.

Meanwhile, I think a lot while on my one hour (now two hour) walk. I see people like me out with their masks, social distancing, heading out for their brief moment of respite from the great indoors. Some of them might be our mighty healthcare workers, others could be champions working in an essential service, packing our food, minding our children, or delivering our online purchases. The rest are just like you and me, everyday heroes doing their bit for the greater good of our society.

Thinking back to the people trashing Everest and I’m left wondering – do we celebrate the wrong achievements?

Put in perspective by our current reality, I’m finding that individual achievements just don’t impress me like they used to. Running marathons, climbing mountains, constantly striving to be first across the finish line – not only is it starting to feel contrived (and staged for Instagram), it’s actually got boring.

Yet every day I witness people pull on the superman cape and soldier on, doing thankless tasks and anonymous duties for little direct reward, with a finish line that might yet end up being a mirage.

When this is over, no-one is going to come calling to book you as a guest speaker for a corporate event, so it’s time to recognise and admire the endurance of all of us, not just a select few.

Take a bow, congratulate yourself and those around you; it may not be easy but you still front up every day, for the benefit of everyone, with no expectation of accolades or rewards.

Well done you.

Derek Green,
Managing Editor, The Westsider


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