If you told me this time last year that I would soon be able to climb up a 40 ft. wall without collapsing in fear, I would have said you had a really shitty crystal ball.
Like some people, I wouldn’t say I’m comfortable with heights. I wouldn’t say I have a bone-shaking phobia of them, but I would prefer to stay at ground level if possible. The first time I encountered the feeling of being high up (and not just on the 30-something floor of a building) was crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge in BC as an impressionable preteen. I still remember the unnerving sensation of having nothing but air surrounding you. I hurried across the bridge with my eyes glued to my shaking feet, ignoring the rich scenery in my desperate search for stable ground.
After gaining some more confidence in my physical strength this past year (which I will delve deeper into in another post), I decided to face this fear head-on with rock climbing. I was always the kid to avoid rock climbing at birthday parties (using the children’s universal cop-out excuse of “I just don’t feel like it”) and had only tried it once as an adult, on a date.
When a brand spanking new climbing gym happened to open a mere five-minute walk from my apartment and I decided it was finally time to challenge myself. I roped in (no pun intended) my sister and a friend to buy 2-week intro passes and away we went! My first few climbs definitely induced some heart palpitations, sometimes ending in me yelling “Bring me down!” – but as time went on and as I grew more comfortable on the wall, I found myself gaining the courage to make more risky moves and trust my body.
I’ve been climbing for over two months now and it’s been incredibly rewarding. I love being able to track my progress – all the routes are graded by level and you quickly notice when you are able to climb a harder route than usual. I believe it’s important to keep challenging yourself and to try things that make you uncomfortable – it is a surefire way to promote growth and learn more about yourself.
What have you accomplished recently that was challenging? I want to hear all about it in the comments below!