Sometimes I love climbing, and sometimes it’s not my favorite. I have to ask myself two questions to determine whether I actually enjoy ascending rocks, or whether I’m just climbing because it’s familiar and I feel guilty if I don’t climb. The first question is, do I have fun climbing even when I’m not climbing well? I’ve been on both sides of this statement before. I put a lot of pressure on myself, and when I don’t perform at or above my expectations, I often get frustrated. In these instances, I feel incapable, as though I’ve lost all the strength and abilities I had the day before. Sometimes I want to quit. I remember a particularly strong feeling of vexation, perhaps the peak of my aversion to climbing. When I was about 16, I decided to quit climbing and switch to basketball. Fortunately, this grand idea never made it beyond the hoop in my driveway. If it had, I would now be living in a dark cave of embarrassment for double dribbling or scoring for the other team or maybe tripping over the three point line. Apart from this brief period of frustration with my sport, I’ve gone through many phases of discontentment with my performance. Sometimes it lasts a few minutes, other times weeks or months. The only solution I’ve found: If I don’t want to climb, I don’t climb. More times than not, if I force myself to climb when my heart isn’t in it, my loathsome feelings will only worsen. Conversely, if I take time to rest my mind and body, my psych quickly returns. Climbing has to be fun, whether I’m climbing well, or flailing on my warmups.
The second question I ask myself is, when I’m resting, am I antsy to climb, or am I content sitting on my couch studying and watching TV. If I don’t feel a burning desire to get back on the rock, I need to keep resting. Unfortunately, there is another side to this equation. Often, even when I do feel that strong desire to climb, it doesn’t always mean I should. That’s where I am right now.
The past few weeks, my body has been begging me to rest. Not that I’ve been climbing a ton this fall, but sometimes things just hurt for no apparent reason. So, this Thanksgiving break, I’ve taken a step back and restrained myself from climbing. In fact, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with my arms submerged in a bucket of ice. While I thought this would be devastating, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that in fact, there are other entertaining things out there besides rocks. Okay, I already knew there were plenty of fun things besides climbing, but the past week reinforced my suspicion. Below, a few restful activities to rejuvenate your mind and tendons.
Exhibit 1: Baking. My contribution to my family Thanksgiving dinner was pumpkin bread pudding. Highly recommended.
- Soak 8 ounces french bread in 2 cups almond milk.
- Combine 3 eggs, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree, 1 cup dried cranberries, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp ginger. Blend and pour over soaked bread.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.
Exhibit 2: Wyoming. I’ve always loved Wyoming. Amazing climbing (Sinks Canyon), gorgeous scenery (Wild Iris, Jackson), and of course, incredible people. My dear friend Kara and I visited the lovely Becca Skinner last week, and this trip met the extremely high standards I hold for one of the country’s best states. We even snuck in some woodland exploration, complete with dangerous weapons.
Exhibit 3: My little brother. To be fair, he’s actually a lot bigger than me. Sam ventured off to college in Seattle this past September. Scary. It was nice to have my best friend back for a few days over Thanksgiving.
Exhibit 4: Helicopters. Remote control, to be exact. This one mixes well with Exhibit 3.
Exhibit 5: Planking. I’ve heard rumors of the coolness of this “activity”. Convince the whole family to participate, and it becomes a whole lot cooler.
Exhibit 6: Napkin Oragami. Self explanatory.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving, whether tying in, falling on pads, or sitting at the table!