Sunday, August 2, 2009


My family came by the dropzone today. They were headed up the state, I had a rig to pack (S leaves the student canopies for me to pack so I can learn how to do it) and a free afternoon so it worked out.

Funny thing was, that "feeling" I've started to have since I started taking climbing more seriously was at an all-time high. Since this is an unfamiliar thing for me to experience, I don't know if it crosses over and is just part of the whole "growing up" thing or not. I've spent a good part of my life doing as I was told, looking for approval and achieving what I was "supposed to". It's something I struggle with always, but am learning gradually to let go of.

I'm going to go ahead and make climbing the scapegoat here, since climbing is sort of what got everything going--led to slacklining and eventually I'd say even skydiving. The attitudes I developed, the confidence, the way I fit with these activities in a way I'd never fit with other sports. The people I met--a veritable smorgasboard of smart, warm, adventurous individuals that I have loved spending time with.

And the more I become the person I am most comfortable being, the me that I like the most, the more I realize that's not so much what I had in mind, and perhaps not even what was expected of me. And that's a harsh reality, because in my mind "smart kids" like me don't struggle with this, they just get through school, get a respectable "smart kid" job, and everything is sunshine and butterflies.

How is it that I am engaged in a daily battle where some days I'm so happy I'm beside myself and ready to take the world by storm and other days I'm petrified that I am merely scratching an itch and eventually these passions will fade away and then I'll be a shoulda-coulda-woulda who used to have potential? I understand that it is all a balance (which is sometimes a difficult concept for my stubborn mind to wrap itself around) and that everything has an ebb and flow.

And right now, I'm okay with that. So long as at the end of the day I know that I gave it my all, I'll be just fine. It's just hard when a family is as tight knit as mine is and I feel absolutely on the fringe, like I'm not on the grid where I can even relate these things and what they mean to me.

So then skydiving and climbing become something bigger. Something uniquely defining and not just in the way that people look at you and go "you're crazy" or "you're hardcore" or "what's with all the extreme sports?", but in the way that I feel like I am pursuing things that make me terribly happy. And experiencing that doubt just becomes part of the whole thing...knowing that I am the one making choices and having to own them.


  1. Here's my two cents...

    Remember way back when ... we had a discussion on happiness vs joy? Happiness is fleeting, unfulfilling in the long run.

    Joy is encompassing, fulfilling... and joy is in Christ.

    My point is this... do what brings you joy, not just happiness. Rejoice in Christ, just try to follow Him.

  2. The thing to remember is that these things you do that give you so much joy shape and define you TODAY. Enjoy them, revel in how you feel when you do them and push yourself to try harder, but don't ever worry about if you are "merely scratching an itch" that will eventually fade away. Even if someday you stop doing them or take a long break from them for whatever reason, it doesn't change the fact that they've shaped you into who you are and you love that. I struggle with this (I worry that eventually i'll have to stop climbing for a while if I have a kid...) and keep trying to remember to enjoy the moment while I'm in it.

    It's hard when the people you are closest too don't really understand why you do the things you do - my husband doesn't like the fact that I climb because he worries about my safety and it's tough on me.

    whew, long comment... hehe. I had even more to say but cut myself short. =)


  3. Katie I love the depth of reflection and insight that you have. Some people never get there. It is in that reflection that you will find more meaning to everything. We didn't spend much time exploring those deeper subjects, but I hope we get the chance to.

    Embrace life and all it has to offer. It changes daily. Our lives are not the defined by what ifs or should have beens. They are defined by single moments all strung together. It is in THIS moment that we find life, and live. Cherish each moment as the gift it is, and you will never have regrets.

    Till next time,
    Be Safe, Live Long, Climb (and fly) Hard,

  4. Meg: I am more grateful to have you as a friend than I have words to say. Even when I don't get to actually see you for months at a time, you continue to encourage me. I love you.

    Nina: When you're so darn awesome it makes it even harder not to get to hug you in person! I think you and I could write novels in response to one another. I love your spirit. You get it. :)

    Rick: I hope we get to discuss these things, these hard-to-verbalize things that many of us experience but struggle to process and express. Perhaps the very things that draw us the most to what we love, I suppose.

  5. It is an interesting balance to take all that a day has to offer, be true to yourself, and consider those you love in the process. As a mom and wife and friend, it's something I am constantly thinking about - and even still as a sister and daughter. I don't really have anything to add, but wanted to say that whatever you set out to do, from climbing to cartwheels, if you keep your honest, genuine attitude, I'm sure you'll go far - and high, too! :)

  6. I don't know if I have anything constructive to add, but I feel the same way a lot.

    I was supposed to be a smart kid, so I was never encouraged to do anything like sports or playing outside much when I was younger.

    I'm not a good climber, and I don't try to represent myself as such, but it seems like just showing up and suggesting that I might like to try something makes me appear to be unforgivably arrogant.

    I try to take negative feedback as constructive, but it's hard when everyone else is being encouraged to try new things -- when do I get that?

  7. I know those feelings of doubt all too well. You seem to be doing much better than I am in that you seem to at least be getting things done.

    I really don't know what to say as I have been incapable of getting past my doubts and they tend to shut down my life. But I suspect that you will push through and figure it out.

  8. Sara: I send you all the virtual hugs I can muster. You are constantly so warm and funny. I value your input very much. I think you're right, btw.

    Laurel: My heart hurts to hear that you feel so down about climbing sometimes, because I know the feeling well. I've been learning the last few months that I need to be interested in climbing what I want to climb and what makes me happy, not for anyone else and sometimes not even WITH anyone else. Don't get me wrong, I like friends, but ultimately I think it comes down to you climbing because it uniquely satisfies some part of you. Don't let the negative feedback get you down. Listen, respond, and move on. This is your life, darlin'! Own it! :)

    Nae: You know how much I love you. And I think of you often, and want so much for you to feel capable and confident. There are many moments in my day that I wish I could share with you because you would appreciate them in a way not many others could. <3