I recently did a fun/climbing combo road trip to California and with me recuperating from a finger injury one thing that was important to us was chasing sunsets. We would get in the car, and let it take us to our next adventure with no real plans, but there was one thing that was set on the calendar every day, and that was watching the sunset, especially with the ocean.
The first time we did it I was anxious to get moving, and was thinking about climbing, or what’s next, etc. But after a few days, it became my moment of truths for the day, the trip, me, and just a time to enjoy nature. The hype and stress of ‘oh my, the sun will set soon, oh my lets find the right spot!’ became so important to us.
I have to say, that trip changed me a little, for the good. I went to the gym with one of my good ole climbing buddies who just had twins, she has a toddler plus a house to take care of. She and her awesome hubby are finding their way with their growing family and getting their climbing workout. She was just so happy to climb with a human belayer vs. jumping on auto belay in between feeding or changing or playing with the boys. And I was totally fine with going in the gym and getting in a climbing session that was not about leading or bouldering hard stuff, we were happy to get on anything or everything and focus on getting stronger, refining our technique, and footwork. This time last year I would have measured my success on how hard I climbed and did I lead strong and so on. Now, it is more of am I happy with my performance? What are my objectives? Did I meet them? Talking about spectator (partner) and personal highlights after our climbing session. It is more of an all encompassing journey for me now. In fact, I just chatted with my Spain mentor and normally I am like “I want to climb the whole time, hard, ok?” This time I was like, I need a day of coaching, a day of sending, a day for you to have your project and I will belay you and a day where I will help you with your clients and be a rope gun and so on. I think she was shocked I am not proposing Doris send fests but rather a trip that will make me stronger inside and out as a climber.
Even though I am determined to get back where I was or even better, its not to be picked up by a company to be sponsored or write in a major magazine, but just so I can have plenty of climbing options and continue climbing around the world and chasing those sunsets. Yes, when I send some of my projects, it will be a happy moment, but what I experienced in California was beyond happy, it balanced me out and made me more grounded of a climber.
So the point to all this other that seeing these nice sunset pictures? I realized climbing is a very important part of my life partly because of the challenge it presents and the feeling I get reminds me sometimes when I was an athlete growing up. But more important is the journey and places it takes me. I had some pretty darn big goals last year, but it was wiped out from a finger injury….and I am still here, climbing. I realize that as years pass I will set all kinds of climbing goals, but I should never forget to ‘chase those sunsets’, I want to continue growing in my journey as a climber. Where do I want to be in 10 years as a climber? Not a pro-climber, not a 5.20 climber, but a happy and strong climber who has climbed and is climbing in pretty cool spots all over the world…and if in that journey I accomplish a hard grade or boulder problem, kudos to me, but if not, kudos to me, because I am still climbing strong!