Looking at myself in the mirror with tears running down my face, I knew I had to make a change. Do I really like climbing? Why am I pushing myself if I am not enjoying it? One thing I love about climbing is that it tests my ability to accept change and to deal with emotions that aren’t necessarily the easiest to deal with, but the notion of training is something I’ve struggled with since I started climbing five years ago.
My propensity to obsess destroys my ability to work hard at the blessing we have to move our bodies. What’s supposed to be a day at the crag or the gym turns into an endless mind game of counting. “I need to reach my goal pitch count. I don’t deserve to eat x unless I meet this goal. Each pitch burns x calories so I will burn y total calories at the end of the day.” In the moment I think nothing of it, but as I look back and assess my mindset, I realize how that’s only leading to a demise of my time as a rock climber. I refuse to let this toxic mentality take what gives me so much life away from me.
Instead of training for specific climbing goals (i.e. sending certain grades, certain climbs, etc.), I think it’s going to be important for my “training” to focus on having fun. That should be the first goal for any training plan, but it’s not an easy goal to meet when you struggle to keep your head above the water. Grasping for air, there’s no fun in the feeling of drowning in your own pernicious thoughts. Instead of training for a specific climbing goal, I think I am going to focus on bettering myself so someday training is genuinely feasible. Ironically, I’ve said this more than once before, but now I am asking for YOUR help. I can do it, but sometimes accountability is the best ailment to reaching your goals regardless of how independent you think you are.
For now, let me remind myself to honor everything I’ve been through in the past, and to honor my present self. Although I am infatuated with my climbing lifestyle, I need to learn how to relax and surrender. Sometimes it’s more important to step away and assess than to force myself to do something I don’t enjoy. Sure, training for climbing isn’t the most enjoyable for anyone, but the type two fun that comes with reaching your goals isn’t attainable for me… at least for now. So here’s to relearning how to enjoy climbing again! We all know I love it, but I’m ready to love even the difficulties that come with participating in ANY physical activity. I’m ready to stop obsessively counting and to start treating myself with compassion. Soon enough.