Thursday, April 14, 2011

Getting Back to Climbing, Week 12: Finding Yourself

As I have said before, although I talk about my experiences getting back into rock climbing as a mom, this isn't only about rock climbing.  You could be a surfer, runner, yoga person; just replace the rock climbing with your 'thing' and replace the particular details with those of your 'thing'.  This is about remembering who you were before you became a parent, and finding the space and balance to be that person again.  Oh, and, no... it is not selfish.  Having time to decompress as an adult, and to have your child hear you talk about your passions, and watch you find flow, is good for them.

I was thinking this week about finding myself... the first time.

It took about 30 years for me to grow into my body.  Growing up I was super tall, super (painfully) thin, and super uncoordinated.  To say that I was a terrible athlete is a rose-colored-glasses understatement.  I tried to play softball; my coach used to throw 'pop fly' balls to me, over and over, and I couldn't catch them, so they would hit me in the face.  I played soccer forever; when I quit in high school, my coach told me he was surprised I stayed with it as long as I did (ouch).  I liked to run; but I couldn't sprint, and I wasn't good enough to run long distances.
Me, about 15, on the soccer field.

In my twenty's I was around a lot of surfers, and lived near good waves... I wanted to learn to surf, but after such athletic failure as a kid, I did not want to humiliate myself by even trying.  I also hung out with people who played softball ever Sunday, just for fun; I imagined myself getting out on the field too, and I never did for the same reasons.  Riding a bike was enough of a coordination challenge for me!

So, you are asking, "then how did you start rock climbing?".  In my early 30's, I was in graduate school, and as an assignment we had to 'learn something new'.  My new thing was skateboarding, which ended with a gnarly crash in my driveway.  I had a professor (neuro-anatomy I think) who was a rock climber, and she asked if anyone wanted to join her at the gym for their 'learn something new' project.  Well, I still had visions of me cruising down the street on my board, but I thought I would try rock climbing anyway.  Why not?

That was it.  I found myself.  And I knew it.  When I left the gym that night, I knew that I could be a good climber (why climbing worked for me, when nothing else had, is another post all it's own).  By the next week, I had a harness, chalk bag, gym membership and 5.10 purple shoes.  I was hooked.  About a month later I met John, and a month after that we had our first date.  Now it is almost eight years later...

Me, almost 25 years later, on Big Moe, Joshua Tree, California

We find ourselves many times throughout our lives, and we loose parts of ourselves just as often.  The pieces that make us whole... we need to make sure we find them when they get lost.  Especially as a parent.

I made it to the gym once this week.  Yes, sad to say, only once; but I did play on the monkey bars with the Kid at the park today, so that should really count for something.  I climbed well, and I am finally beginning to find the meditation in climbing that I used to have.  Flow.

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