Climbing Towers In Berlin Helped Me Overcome My Quarter-Life Crisis

Climbing Towers In Berlin Helped Me Overcome My Quarter-Life Crisis

I concluded that discovering an unfamiliar place was exactly what I needed.


In October 2014, I decided that it was time to stop making excuses and go somewhere new.

I was covered in cobwebs woven from unhappiness, stress, and anxiety about the future, and I concluded that discovering an unfamiliar place was exactly what I needed. I hadn't been anywhere far since I spent a semester abroad in France in 2010. So for the rest of 2014 and much of 2015, I scrimped and made payments to a travel group for a trip to Europe.

In September, I reaped my investment and traveled Germany and the Czech Republic. For eleven glorious days, I did not think too much, fall into a funk, obsess about the future, or feel stuck. I was not tired or exhausted, and I did not feel like I was putting in more than I was getting in return.

And it was perfect.

Victory Column in Berlin, Germany Courtesy of Alta Joseph

I ate breakfast every single day, unheard of in my nine-to-five life. To my surprise I even got a lot of exercise since being in Europe means endless walking! I huffed and puffed my way up 285 steps to the top of the Victory Column in Berlin and saw an amazing 360-degree view of the city. The climb stretched my thighs, and I was disappointed by how often I needed to take a break. Did that stop me from taking on the increasingly steep steps of the Old Town Hall Tower when I got to Prague? No! My “screw these steps" mantra did help a great deal as my ankles screamed during the long climb. Although I felt like I was the only one struggling so hard on the journey to the top, I told myself that can't possibly have been true and put my mind at ease.

In Munich, I looked up at the St. Peter's Church Tower, dreading the exertion it was going to take and already disappointed that it wasn't going to be a breeze. But I could picture what was waiting for me at the summit: a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and the pride that came from pushing through and completing what I had set out to do. That was enough for me to pay and go. 306 steps later, I had no feeling in my legs, but I was proud to look out over Munich and see the Alps in the far distance.

After my tower-climbing crusade, when I was back in the States and jotting down what I'd taken away from the trip, it dawned on me that I had made it to the top.

During the climbs, I focused on my abysmal endurance and weak ankles, and I made silent promises to strengthen them, but hindsight helped me realize that even though I had climbed at a slower pace than those around me, I had made it to the top just the same.

In fact, I made it to the top three times. I also realized that even though some people passed me, I was in front of many.

So, what I tell myself now, when my brain wants to sprint into panic mode because it's focused on the fact that a double major in French and International Studies does not provide a linear career path like a major in Political Science or Information Technology, is that, yes, there will be people who are farther along than me, but there will also be those who are behind me--people who either started after or who need to take more breaks than I do. Yes, there will be those who surpass me along the way, those who will get ahead while I take the time to regroup. That is reality, and it has always been. It doesn't mean I won't get where I want to go. I don't need to be first, and there is no last.

View from Old Town Hall Tower in Prague, Czech Republic Courtesy of Alta Joseph

I've decided to shift my focus to answering my needs when they arise so that I don't stress about the climb. If I obsess about getting there at the same time as the people that I started off with, then I will eventually wear myself out and be forced to stop.

The most important thing that I learned is to take care of myself and to not worry about the pace of those around me. And that applies to all aspects of my life.

After all, looking left and right will only slow me down from reaching what lies ahead of me.

Alta Joseph lives in Florida and works in the non-profit sector as a Grant Writer, among other responsibilities. She's an avid Fanfiction writer, is currently working on a manuscript to enter grad school, and can be reached at ajosep11@gmail.com.

Featured image by Shutterstock

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissions@xonecole.com.

If You're Not Skin Cycling Already, Here's Why You Should

Another day, another TikTok trend that's all the rage. Many TikTok trends are gimmicks without any scientific backing. Or, in the case of the NyQuil chicken trend that took off, just plain dangerous. However, one has bubbled up to the surface that is worth investigating. Enter: skin cycling.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
How Yoga Helped Peloton's Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts Heal From Past Traumas

Since her Peloton debut in May of 2020, Chelsea Jackson Roberts, Ph.D., has become one of the most sought-after yoga instructors on the app. Using a mixture of hip-hop, R&B, classical, gospel, house, and funk-themed classes, the Dayton, OH native guides Peloton users across the globe, in the weekly practice of feeling connected with the body and the breath as they “root down and rise up.” With many leaving her classes feeling more grounded and anchored than they were when they started, it’s easy to see how the former Lululemon Global Ambassador and two-time Yoga Journal cover star has made such an impact. While her background as a third-grade school teacher and founder of Yoga, Literature, and Art Camp lends to her influence, her journey to becoming a world-renowned celebrity yoga instructor was not met without tragedy.

Keep reading...Show less
Your October 2022 Horoscopes Are All About Finding Flow & Alignment

October is a month of balance. With some energy moving direct and some energy moving retrograde, there is a middle ground to find this month between what is unfolding and what you are letting go. The month begins with Mercury officially moving out of retrograde and going direct in Virgo. Mercury this month is cleaning house and sprucing things up after the somewhat tyrant energy it’s brought over the past few weeks. Now that Mercury is direct, there is less interruption when it comes to daily flow and plans, and this is a good month to start setting things into motion.

Keep reading...Show less
The Myth Of The Sex Drive & How Libido Changes From Your 20s, 30s, 40s & 50s

No one prepared me for how horny I would be in my late 30s. All the elders in my life prepared me for random chin hairs, weight gain, and menopause but no one said a mumbling word about my sex drive. Something happens the closer you get to forty. I went from wanting sex here and there to wanting it all the damn time. Is there a support group for this? I can’t be the only one who has the sex drive of the Energizer Bunny. Upon my research to figure out why I felt like a cat in heat, I discovered several theories surrounding women and our sex drives–including one that says the concept of having a sex drive is a myth altogether.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive: Da’Vinchi On Protecting His Peace & Why He Prioritizes Mindset Over Looks In Dating

Da’Vinchi has appeared in many television series such as All American and Grown-ish but it was his role in BMF as Terry Flenory that helped propel his career forward. Since starring in BMF, he made his Broadway debut with Thoughts of a Colored Man and is currently shooting an undisclosed movie in Vancouver. The 26-year-old actor is beginning to see the fruits of his labor and so it’s hard to imagine that he almost went in a different direction. Da’Vinchi spoke with xoNecole’s Dana Blair for our xoMan series about acting, being a sapiosexual, and protecting his peace.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts