04 November 2009

Climbing the Wall

I've been rock climbing for a few months now, and I love it. I had done it years ago, and sort of liked it, but now? It's a passion.

I'm not very good at it yet.

I don't care.

There's this one route at the climbing gym that's giving me trouble. It's a route I should be able to climb, theoretically. I can climb all the other ones that are at the same level (except one, but's harder and I'm working on it, too).

You see, on this route, the second move is to grip these holds that I simply cannot grip. They are awkward and slippery and I just can't seem to get them. But the third move is this perfect yellow hold, for my right hand. Last night, I finally (after weeks of trying to just get off the ground) managed to get my right hand up to that yellow hold.

It hurt.

A lot.

Then I realized that I needed to get my left foot up underneath my butt. The only problem was that my right hand was smashing the left side of my body against the wall, making it really difficult to move my left food underneath me without pulling my right hand out of the hold.

I was in my own way.

I finally got my left foot where I needed it to be, but I didn't have the strength to pull myself up any further. I didn't trust my legs to hold me. I'd seen other people do it. I knew what needed to be done, but I just couldn't quite trust myself to do it.

This morning I was thinking about this problem and I started to realize that this route, this path on a rock climbing wall, might be a pretty good parallel to my own life.

I've spent so much time and energy trying to reach this one thing. I struggled and struggled. I fell down. I got back up. And then, I finally got my hand on it.

What if that one thing isn't what I want after all? It's the only path I can see. It's the attainable goal. But what if reaching it puts me in my own way? What if reaching it has drained me of the strength I need for anything else? How do I trust myself to keep going, or, even harder, find another path?


Beckbee said...

That was deep. :) Let us know what you find out next time!!!

Antelope said...

Damn man. This is exactly where I am in life right now too. My (probably unhealthy) approach has been "Head down and do it. Get ice cream at important intervals." Can someone deliver you ice cream on the climbing wall?

NatalieCottrell said...

I have always wanted to try rock climbing. I think there is a lot to be said for fitness that is also fun, but it does have a reputation for illiciting epiphanies, much like the one you've outlined. Some may call that healthy, but it is some scary shiz.

I am the last person to take my own advice, but I will say that going after something when you've got the most to lose tends to be when you end up gaining the most. There's a fine line between fear, doubt, and absolute elation. Push it, lady!

M said...

I like your posts better when they're funny.

Kidding, kidding! I know changing directions when you've been so focused can be difficult, but it can also open you up to all kinds of opportunities you never knew you wanted. Take your time and think it out, but don't let yourself get in your own way if you can help it :).

Alice said...

i love rock climbing. i wish my gym offered it..!

my personal mantra is a sort of "meh, it's the climbing part that's fun, right? so however i get up the wall is the way i'm going!"

this hasn't led to very many focused career choices, but i'm happy :-)

Stacie's Madness said...

you just jump.
and keep trying.

f.B said...

I don't know anything about rock climbing. But the getting in your own way part is familiar. So is limited vision; only being able to see one path. I'm working on learning that sometimes you just have to turn and go another way, even when it doesn't look like there's actually a fork in the road; even when it doesn't seem like there is any other direction.

PQ said...

The one time I went rock climbing, I loved it. I can't wait till I can afford to sign up at that gym...

As for your post...Get out of your own way...It's quite possibly the hardest thing to do but you've taken a great step forward with recognizing that might be your issue. When I did that, I realized a lot of things about myself and where I really want my life to go.

One step at a time...You can do it.

Meg Kathleen said...

I have so been there. And I know this sounds so cheesy, but when I found that what I wanted and had worked so hard for was the wrong thing and I had to change paths I found out I was stronger than I thought. Or as I explained to my friends I was so focused on fixing the mess that I didn't have time to wallow in self pity.

Lindsey Marie said...

I've never wall climbed, but i've always wanted to. who knew something like that could inspire those kind of thoughts? now i want to even more.

Brochures said...

First of all... you must be a tough girl to be able to do rock climbing! So cool... :D
Second, that is a very deep metaphor for life. LOL! And that's true though...

Jenny said...

Great metaphor. Meanwhile my advice... you've got time to decide. You've got time to rest and take the next step when you feel able. And sometimse you do just have to do one of those hella-awkward death-defying swingy moves where you kick away from the wall, keep holding on to that hold, and just jump for it. And if it still isn't what you want, you can abseil back down. You have all the time and all the choices in the world. I would say, though, turning around and trying something new is risky and terrifying, yes, and it might be worth it. But having done something similar myself, and then more recently having started considering another complete change of path, sometimes you do just have to stick with it and see how it pans out. Either way, good luck :)

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