I’ve been feeling a bit like a child hipster lately, meaning I’ve felt too “cool” to blog post, cringed at the thought of sharing anything with anyone, snarled at the thought of communicating and haven’t found the right words to do so even if I wanted.
The other day though I had the opportunity to work with an incredibly talented and smart individual covering for another person. Through life and through climbing related events, things can always seem to be too hectic and a little unreal, especially with high expectations of ourselves. Highs and lows come and it can be hard to anticipate what each phase may bring. These thoughts have been revolving around my head and it took a special person to make me confess these things aloud, realize the humor of the situations, and know I am far from alone in my thought process.
It was nice to talk about these things with another person who felt similarly in some ways and it opened me up to a world outside of myself yet again. Many people I know have a sense of commitment to climbing which is really admirable. The point my friend made was that it is good to be passionate about climbing (and other things in life) but not obsessive. We can become attached to things at an unhealthy level and become unhappy; for example, can you think of a time when you have ever gone to the climbing gym to climb not because you wanted to, but because you felt like you had to? I can admit that before I sustained a tendon injury, often times I felt as if I was going through the motions both in climbing and other aspects of life because it was a comfort zone I had let myself sink in to. It was routine to go to the gym at such and such time and do such and such exercises and so on and so forth. The threat of becoming weaker also made it feel at times as if I was afraid of the consequences of not going. I am not afraid or ashamed to admit these things as I think it is natural to do with anything, whether it be school or work or the things we love most. Sometimes we just need a fresh perspective or a change in approach.
School was a similar story. I have been feeling even more interested and attached to my subject of study, but with that comes the stress associated with perfectionism. I notice myself arriving at my next class without any idea how I had gotten there, head down – constantly in thought thinking of all the assignments, research plans, future deadlines, etc. Stress would be so often a habit during the week that I would drive myself crazy pouring over how I could always do things better, be better, work harder. I always feel I could be doing so much more no matter how much I am involved. I experienced a low where I craved solitude more than normal, avoided social gatherings, and felt so drained at the end of the week that everything seemed more so like a task than relaxing.
Balance. That was the deliciously simple conclusion. Being passionate about something in life is wonderful, but finding a balance between the things you love and the people you love should be a means to excite and energize you, not leave you feeling inadequate, tired, frustrated or angry. Climbers in general I have noticed (it would have sufficed to say people in general, but the majority of my time being around climbers, I will leave it as that) also put a lot of pressure on themselves to do what, in their mind, they think they should be doing. Climbing is nice in the way we can seldom be satisfied for long, always moving on to the next challenge or climb after the other. Another good point made was to appreciate where you are here and now and be satisfied with what you have done. It is easy to think of all the things we need to be doing…“I should be climbing this hard…I should be making these sorts of moves…I should have finished this one climb..” and can even do the same with school and work. Why is it that we never take a step back to appreciate how far along we have come in a month, in a year…..since we’ve even started climbing?! How about progress in any form on a project? We should all definitely take those moments, sans ego, to appreciate our own hard work and be grateful for where we are, how far we have come and what we get to do.
Enough preachiness, just wanting to pass along some wisdom from a friend, happy that I am healthily psyched on climbing and school and future work, and crossing my fingers that a few of us are going to go to CCS NATIONALS! Regionals this weekend too, woofareakinhooooo!
keep on crushin’