I used to think that in order to get through life’s stressful times, you had to make time only for what was due, or what needed to get done, and nothing else. “Transition” has been the story of my life for the past year or so now. I gave up years of blood (literally), sweat and tears I had surrendered over to graphic design, to pursue an entirely new field and goal. In giving up this however, there were other aspects I had grown accustomed to or grown to love that still remained. The two at the top of the list that were not directly inherent throughout my entire life are climbing and my best friend.
I’ve tried to convey to some people what it is climbing does for me not only physically, but also socially, emotionally, and maybe most importantly right now, mentally. Actually, climbing keeps in check a lot of other aspects of my life. I eat healthy, I keep myself in shape so that I can continue to climb more; the self-discipline that has developed as my training intensifies carries over into my studies, and vice versa. It is a stress relief, and a chance to divert my thought process from whatever it is that might be troubling, even if just for a couple of hours. It has also brought me in touch of some of the coolest people I know.
I’m not a professional, but I see myself getting stronger with each session, which does indeed remind me that I am still moving forward. Time, in it’s one-speed dimension on earth, isn’t the only thing that shows change and growth. Specifically within the past six months or so, I’ve come to realize the dependence both my body and mind have on climbing. Then, I also came to realize that giving up climbing, no matter what level of stress I find myself under, is non-negotiable.
A very good friend and climbing partner of mine, Sarah Williams* (who has been crushing some killer problems lately) has just started her second year of med school. I met Sarah while I was at Baylor and she was at UT through comps. I still keep in touch with her throughout her studies, and I realized that during the times that I got to climb with her at Hueco and the Summit comps that she was getting stronger…while in med school. Though she confessed to drinking a lot of coffee during the school year, it was a bit of wake-up call for me. Now here I sit, in front of my laptop with a nice cup of coffee, looking at my schedule and making sure there is time for what I love.
My best friend in the whole world has also just embarked on the med-school path (this was an unintentional theme in my social world, I promise; but believe it or not, there are others) all the way in El Paso. She manages to find time for crushing the mountain bike trails, and we also talk on the phone at least twice a week. No it’s not always for a lengthy time, but for both of us it is necessary for our survival and sanity to bitch about life and then keep encouraging each other
Continuing to do what you love and manage relationships with those you care for, while in the midst of a demanding schedule, is not easy. That’s the truth. It is without a doubt something you have to be willing to commit to. To throw out a climbing analogy for all of-my like-minded readers, you’ll never stick the crux unless you commit to it. The same principle applies here. If you really want it, you’ll make it happen, one way or another. And the cool thing is that you won’t think twice about it.
*Please go check out Sarah’s blog! It’s got some great climbing adventures to read about, as well as a guest appearance by myself!