The future does not hold happiness… at least for me.
It’s not necessarily the future that doesn’t hold happiness, but rather it’s my ability to transform the future into an anxiety-filled wrath of madness. As I embark on a new school year, I notice that my anxiety has increased. This happens just about the same time each year, and I can easily correlate it to my intense fear of the unknown. Rather than just staying present, I often try to cope with my fear of the unknown by planning my future out so I know what’s to come. Planning out everything is how I get into trouble. No one can predict the future, so when my original plans go awry, I am only left paddling down class 5 rapids waiting for calmer water.
Since I have moved to a city where access to rock climbing exists 2-3 times the distance of what it previously was, I have begun trying to plan out the trips I want to take this fall and spring. Based on what I previously have said about planning out the future, you could only imagine what this has done for me: absolutely nothing. I begin to worry that if I wait too long to plan I won’t have anyone who would want to climb with me… or I will end up just not able to go. Frankly, if I plan too far ahead, I am certain that I will end up not having climbing partners. Or something will come up and I am only left distraught because I had to cancel my original plans. This is what happened to me earlier this spring/summer when I had plans to live at the Red, but I had to forego them due to relapsing. I was left more depressed than I was to begin with, but I am very blessed to have decided to put myself into treatment. Rock climbing will always be there, but I won’t have the ability to climb without taking care of myself first. If I just stay focused on the present, plans will fall into place. This is easier said than done.
On a more positive note, by not planning out the future and staying in the present, I was able to take my first trip outside since April. As I packed the car and began the journey out to Kentucky, my heart was filled with warmth and bliss. I knew that my tenacity helped me get back to climbing outside again, and man did that thought fill my soul with joy. Treatment is more challenging than anything I have ever endured, but it saved my life and helped me earn my right to go back to the Red. Embracing the unforgiving cliff lines truly couldn’t have put me in a better mindset. Also, I got to spend my first time back outdoors with the new additions to my climbing family. I was against moving to Chicago in the first place, but by accepting that change could be positive for me I have had so many opportunities slap me in the face.
Life is good. It’s not easy, but the rough patches surely make the good times that much better. It’s all about perspective. The good times, however, wouldn’t be possible if I kept planning everything out. I have to embrace the present. Once I do this, everything will just fall into place. The future holds happiness, I just have to focus on the present to find it.