It's very fair to say that my zest for both climbing and writing about climbing has been lacking lately. I make no excuses other than I've been blown away with just how much my injury has taken my head out of many different facets of my life. I freely admit that I haven't been myself this summer.
When I got hurt back in May I genuinely thought I'd be back at it in a month or so. A month passed and with each day I thought that I'd wake up the next and be fine. As it turned out I was out for roughly 3 months, almost to the day actually. I kept telling myself, and others, that I would schedule time at the doctors but each time I'd go to do it I'd find some reason not to. Whether that was pure laziness or for fear of finding out it was worse than I imagined, I don't know.
During this summer I kind of delved into a hole of myself. Without climbing in my life I spent a majority of my time either at work or alone, at home. I saw my wife less than I needed to and didn't spend enough time around my closest friends.
It was, in short, unexpected and surprising.
We all talk about how much climbing means to us over and over. I know I've talked about it many times before and will do so again in the future. It's often talked about as a lifestyle rather than a sport and many times I've shy'd away from using that term as I don't feel it applies to me.
I've thought a lot about this recently and more and more I realize that I can't actually put a word on what climbing is to me. The strongest way that I can put it is that I've built my life around climbing. This past summer was a stark reminder of the good and the bad that comes along with that.
I felt completely lost without it in my life. What surprised me the most though was that I didn't miss the simple act of climbing as much as I missed my friends. I missed hanging out at the boulders, talking shit and trying hard. I dearly missed the ferry rides, ice cream, and the satisfaction/sheer exhaustion that comes with a full day at the lake.
Most importantly, I missed the daily interactions with the people I care about the most. It all comes down to the people you spend your life with. I missed my wife. I missed my friends. And that took a much bigger toll on me mentally than I expected.
If there was one saving grace for me, it was running. Somehow I got into running. For those that don't know, endurance has never been a pursuit of mine but it was all I had, so I stuck with it. Eventually it started to suck less and then it all clicked and I actually enjoyed it a bit.
Vera asked me to do a trail race with her in the middle of the injury. I agreed without hesitation, not knowing when my shoulder would allow me to climb.
Well, that race was this past Saturday and even though I was dreading it in the week leading up, I had an unexpectedly great time. I had an awesome run, Katie came with, Vera accidentally took a wrong turn, cut a couple miles off the course and forced Adam to sprint out of the Port-O-Potty to make the exchange.
Coming back to climbing this time feels different. It feels good. I've lost some weight and feel like I'm starting to get back to some amount of normalcy. I also feel very calm about knowing what climbing has given me in my life. I feel incredibly fortunate to live the life I do. More so now than ever before.
It's absolutely stunning how quickly life can get in the way, isn't it? I often look back on the 2009 season as a perfect example of when everything lined up for the best. If you look at that same crew now, it's easy to see just how much things have changed.
Eggnuts - Second kid and just turned 40
Remo - Getting married next weekend
Nic - Married this past summer - Will never climb 8B
Dobbe - Getting married in October
RV - Moved away
Chris N Sarah - Bought a house, just got engaged
Aaron - In a committed relationship now
Runnells - Injured, again
Gabe - Got hitched
Sweaty - Got hitched AND addicted to tri's
Over the past few years this site has given me so much. I really appreciate that people come here to read what I have to say. I'd be lying to you if I said that I've never thought about stopping this ship though. I've thought about it multiple times just over the last couple of weeks. This site will end at some point but I don't think that time is now.
Every now and then I go back and read some of my favorite posts. There are a few that stand out but one in particular makes me smile. It's this one.
I'll leave you with my favorite part:
The thing about generations is that they end. Right now we're right in the middle of this thing. I don't know how long it will last, but I'm hoping it'll go on for a while. That said, this time next year the core group could be totally different. You just don't know.
So, enjoy this while it lasts. We're in the middle of the 4th generation right now and this next season is when we can really leave our mark. My psyche and excitement is overwhelming right now. You can't even imagine.