It started with one introduction to top rope course with a guy that I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. This sounds like such an awful way to start an uplifting article, but if life had taught me anything it was that the best things in life start out in the strangest ways. Rock climbing was something I thought I would never take up given my irrational fear of heights and fear of falling. I re-visited the idea of rock climbing with a friend a year later and found that there was something that wanted me to come back to try again. Even though it has been less than a year since I have started up, I still find it just as thrilling as I did when I first started.
1. I am more capable than I think I am.
From the time I started climbing, I learned that there are several different ways to send a bouldering or top rope route whether it be through strength or technique. My first approach to climbing was that I am not able to do more than the basic routes for beginners. When I am up there on a top rope course or so close to sending a bouldering route, I swallow the little bit of fear of making the wrong move and just stand up and keep going.
In life, taking that leap of faith and swallowing the little bit of fear that screams to do the more common sense thing makes thing most worthwhile.
2. I need to let go to reach the next level.
In climbing, there will be a a point in time that you will not see the next holds to use to move up. No matter how far you plan ahead or beta your way through it, there is something that will be unexpected that could potentially bring you down. But the next best move is to reach up and stand on your legs and you'll see a whole host of holds and options ahead of you.
In life, when you ever reach rock bottom and you feel like there are no options, all you have to do is simply stand. Easier said than done but it is worth it when you can finally see all of the possibilities in front of you.
3. If I am a tad bit more confident, I can make even the hardest climbs possible.
A part of me is still slightly terrified of trying to climb the harder routes because I have a fear of falling. My good days when I climb, I send every route with ease but on my bad days I feel like I make zero progress because I am less confident in my abilities. But the days that I forget about all of that, I realize I can really do it. And I'm always surprised by that.
In life, confidence is a just a sweet icing on top of hard work and dedication and an ounce of confidence makes anyone able to anything they want to. The sky is the limit.
4. If I conserve my energy, I can be very successful.
The key in climbing is to send routes without expending tons of energy. It isn't about how fast you can send it but literally conserving your energy to make it to the top and keep on going (aka do NOT T-rex on the climb). The best climbers utilize their feet more than their arms and are smooth with all of their movements which reduces the need to expend excess energy.
In life, some things are not worth expending energy on. Things happen that make us freak out to the point of no return but when the crisis passes and we look back on it, we wonder why we wasted so much time on it. Maybe we would be better off without expending energy on things that may not matter in the end.
5. I can fall but it doesn't mean that I failed.
Climbers tell each other that if you are not falling then you are not really trying. For those that have a fear of falling can be held back if they don't give into. Once I gave into my fear of heights and falling did I realize I have the ability to get back up and try again and again. When I first started climbing seriously, I didn't want to fall at all. I was scared to make moves that were questionable because I hated falling and falling in front of others. But as I met other climbers and climbed with friends, I got over it quickly and was much more successful.
In life, sometimes the scariest thing is to get over yourself. You are the biggest detriment sometimes to your own success and giving yourself space to make mistakes helps immensely to move forward.
Climbing for me has transformed from a hobby to a way of life that makes me realize that I really can do anything if I put my mind to it. Fears and self beliefs are secondary to making dreams come true. I can't wait to see what the rest of my first year of climbing looks like.