What is today? Wednesday?

In a couple of weeks Iím going to do some outdoor climbing. Since I find climbing scary, I have taken up indoor climbing to prepare myself. Iíve gone maybe 4 or 5 times within the past couple of weeks. Iím doing well, for a beginner. I know how to exploit my advantages, such as, my low body weight, flexibility and balance.

I am also at a huge disadvantage because I am short, but Iím noticing that the best climbers are often very tall and lanky or very small and agile.

Iím going back to karate, starting tomorrow, and Iím going to be at a weekend retreat, this weekend, so I donít know how much more climbing I will get before Iíll have to face a real-life cliff.

Why is it so much scarier? I have no idea.

Last night, I climbed up a wall that had a very organic looking curvature at the top. Itís not dissimilar to the often awkward shape of a real cliff. While crouched inside this curvature, I started shaking uncontrollably. I had to stop several times to clear my head and get my senses back.

I had the same problem climbing the via ferrata. I was sick with fear the entire time, but when youíre already halfway up the cliff, clipped in, with people above and below you, there is nowhere to go but up.

The main problem is that I always forget that Iím afraid of climbing until Iím actually already climbing. When Iím on the ground, I think, ďWhat was my problem? Thatís not scary at all!Ē

My tune is way different when Iím hanging from a rope and staring straight into a deep chasm.

Now that Iím going back to karate, Iím beginning to feel that I donít want to be an athlete anymore. Iím old, Iím tired, Iím cranky.

I want to take up piano. I want to learn some languages.

However, I also donít want to be out of shape. I never felt so awful about myself than when my muscles were softening and my posture was suffering.

Insanely vain? Yes, but some of us insanely vain people havenít really had the opportunity to cope with self-acceptance, yet. And, let me tell you something; Iím not looking forward to it.

During this little interim, Iíve discovered that itís nearly impossible to stay fit without a regimented training schedule. Even with trail running and yoga, I still wasnít keeping up with my previous level of fitness. Climbing has helped me regain some the muscle-tone in my back and core. After I go back to karate, Iím going to be in a world of hurt for a couple of weeks.

Thatís exactly what I am dreading. Iíve had enough of muscle soreness and tiredness and never having time for anything else.

However, when I think about it, I wasnít happy during that little interim. There was feeling soft and blobby, for one thing, but there was also larger sense of despair.

Itís so funny because there is very little practical need for climbing or karate. This is especially true for climbing. You climb to the top of the wall, and then you turn around and go back down. Itís like weight-lifting. You pick up something heavy and then you put it down again. Exactly what are you accomplishing?

Yet, there is a sense of accomplishment. You do feel better about yourself. You see yourself improving. You see your body adapting. Thereís no practical purpose for it at all, yet, it makes you feel good.

Itís like art in that way. It doesnít feed people, it doesnít make anything more efficient, it doesnít offer any physical comfort. Yet, the majority of us are drawn to it.

It enriches our lives. All of those practical tools that weíve created, were created to serve the thing we love for the sake of the thing itself.

Of course, I love more than one thing for the sake of itself, which is where Iím running into trouble. Thatís what my problem is. I donít have enough time.

All of the practical tasks keep getting in the way of the things that I really want to do.

I have been thinking about how I want to deal with that as time goes on.

Adam is currently studying for the GREís so he can start applying for PhD programs. At first, I was confronted with a feeling of jealousy and instability. I think I told him straight away that I was jealous. It was probably six months ago. I canít remember.

As for instability, I havenít been a student in years. I donít know anything about academia or PhD programs. Whatís going to happen? How weird will his schedule be? How much money will he have? How will I cope with the change in routine?

However, I got over that, and now Iím just happy that heís doing the thing that makes him happy. If anything, watching him will show me how I can potentially change my career and also do something completely different, if I want to.

0 comments so far

Wednesday, Oct. 01, 2008 at 9:32 PM