It’s two days before Thanksgiving and I get a text: “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” Nothing, I reply. I was ready to take a break from the world and indulge myself with all the carbs I could get my hands on. But something more tempting was offered—climbing outdoors. There was no hesitation since I had been pulling plastic all fall. Was I only staying indoors because of the lack of motivation or the lack of not only a driver’s license but a car as well? All of the above.
I had fallen into a deep funk of finding zero meaning in climbing and its grades. Why was I still climbing? Because I wouldn’t leave the house if I didn’t. Also acclimating your body to pulling on plastic creates a delusion of grandeur. It’s easy to base progress on indoor climbs and expect the same results outdoors—until, that is, we actually touch real rock. There’s a sense of entitlement that exists within us because of the grades we have put down indoors. And I’m definitely guilty of this. Maybe I was afraid of getting shut down and that was why I had avoided climbing outdoors. Or maybe I just really couldn’t be bothered getting a car.
Something was different about this Thanksgiving, however. The idea of pulling on real rock while others stuffed their faces with food and got heavier was honestly motivating. Call me petty, but I needed that little bit of excitement to find hope in climbing again.
Did that drive work, though? Nope. Why? Because climbing isn’t about others. It’s about doing what we enjoy and overcoming our weaknesses to achieve our goals. I have always been a heady person when it comes to climbing. Hence, I started plateauing. Being sick and tired of always feeling limitations, I decided to focus on not giving a shit—about anything or anyone.
I was cold, and my body does not function below 40 degrees. The cold had ruined my mood from the beginning. My fingers hurt, and I felt unmotivated. I was happy, though. To be outside with good friends and watch my dog thrive in the woods was exciting enough. In the end one the most inspiring things I witnessed during our trip outdoors was watching my puppy scramble up rocks desperately as if he’d die if he fell off, even though the rock was only two feet high. It made me realize that it's the simplicity of all of this that makes it great; the pure joy of just climbing for the sake of climbing and being surrounded by good people. I realized what had been missing from my climbing for a while: the little joys.
I'm a linguistics nerd that loves to climb. Give me crimps and I'll hold on for dear life; give me slopers and I'd rather be using my hands to overload on carbs.