Lately I’ve been climbing with a lot of people who are new to the sport or just haven’t been practicing as much as I have. This is a change from my usual set of crusher friends who sometimes tell me, “If you’re not falling, you’re not climbing hard enough.”
I’m not currently feeling the need to push myself to the point of falling. I’m feeling the need to practice in a slow, methodical way, training my mind as well as my body while I’m on the rock. And I have no interest in falling.
The point is that it’s been a change to have my friends calling me “a little crusher.” I’ve never really viewed myself in that way before. But I’ve also shifted positions in the climbing relationship. I’ve been taught nearly everything I know about climbing from friends in the climbing community. It’s one of the best things about the climbing community, in fact, this willingness to share knowledge and experience. For the past year and a half I’ve been going, going, going, collecting my own experience to the point where, while there is still much I do not know, I can still bring other people, and teach them what I do know. That’s definitely called paying it forward, and I’m so excited to be able to do that. Also, you know, they say that when you can teach something, you truly know it.
At the same time, I’m finding it uncomfortable to be the person in the group who climbs 11 (in the gym- believe me, 5.9’s are spicy enough for me outside right now). While I am certainly fueled by competition, I never want to be the send-y one in the gym who needs to show off their skill. I just want to climb what I think is fun to climb, and I want other to feel comfortable pushing themselves or not.
After climbing with a friend who is about a 9-10a climber, they made a comment about how they couldn’t even believe they thought they could try an 11b, and how I, “made it look so easy.” Again, these are relatively shocking words to me. I made climbing looking easy? I’m used to flailing it up all the time, but okay, cool. Feeling the need to mitigate some of the consciousness my partner revealed in their comments, I said, “Well, you know, I’ve been practicing this stuff pretty hardcore for a little while now.”
“Yeah,” they said, “I’m really looking forward to climbing once a week. How often do you climb?”
“Well, to be honest, I climb at least three to five times a week, sometimes everyday, even if it’s just going to the gym to boulder by myself for twenty minutes. It’s something I just want to do, and it’s an easy habit for me to follow.”
And that’s really the key, isn’t it? When you want to make something, be it writing, climbing, photography, cooking, reading, horseback riding, heck, even crochet, you need to make a habit of it. Even this blog post, for instance, the evidence of making a habit. I woke up this morning not wanting to write, not having any ideas about what to write, but thankfully, this habit has become a part of me, and when I sat down to just do it, the words appeared.
Good luck to all of those who are trying to make new habits, break old habits, and change their lives in general.