When I heard that the Women’s Climbing Symposium was only a Glasgow away, I signed up without hesitation. Then I wondered…why am I going to this? I’m not trying to be a professional or even competitive climber.
As I discuss in my book, my relationship with climbing has been a complicated one, because it appears to be irrelevant to my main “jobs” [my degree and building my business]. And yet, I need to be reminded of my own words, which make up a whole chapter called “Our heroine learns life lessons whilst learning to climb“.
My competitive and perfectionist tendencies make me want to do everything to my upmost capability, so it’s weird to come to terms with the fact that I don’t climb to “get better”.
I enjoyed the training sessions and talks at WCS because, well, I like learning things, especially from super passionate people. One idea challenge me, though: “if you don’t have climbing goals you won’t reach them”. What are my goals? I could say that I want to improve my grade, or place in a bouldering competition, or lead climb a certain route at a certain crag. But my satisfaction with climbing is not dependent on those things – sure, I feel confident and accomplished by overcoming certain obstacles, mastering certain routes, and just, in general, getting better, but that’s not why I climb.
Not getting better as a climber, anyway. But it does make me a better person, as a bonus.
The lessons I learn from climbing are metaphors: like being brave and bold enough to reach the top, like the importance of both exercising and resting my muscles to let them grow. It’s important to have this thing that I just do for fun: it is my release from the other more structured, ambitiously charged things. It reminds me to breathe, and keep my head clear, because without those things, it is impossible to finish the route.
Do you ever find it challenging to do things just for fun? [Or is it just me?]
P.S. Writing this made me feel very Ravenclaw. So here’s How to be Hogwarts.