The way I’ll have to develop and pursue climbing goals in 2014 is going to be different from how its been done in the past. I have a full time job now and I have to answer to the man.
Since 2002, climbing made most of the major life decisions for me, for instance, where to go to college. At that time, I’m not ashamed to say attendance at the University of Colorado was kept to a minimum, so there was time to climb. After graduating I was able to pick and choose construction projects that suited my financial needs and allowed me to travel and climb for three or four months out of the year. But I was living in Philadelphia.
Again, climbing took the wheel and in the summer of 2012 I rode the New Jersey Unemployment Insurance Benefits I had qualified for back to Boulder, Co, where I could again be in the epicenter of the US climbing community. It would be almost a year before I fell into financial straights and started looking for a job.
I began installing solar panels last August to pay the bills and found myself working harder than anticipated and investing pride in my new day job. That’s of course 40-50 hours a week reserved for non-climbing responsibilities, but its not all that bad. To be honest, I can only climb 24-7 for so long before I get tired of the monotony; I like to do other things anyway.
So here’s how I’m going about it this year…keep on the straight and narrow waking up at 6:30 for work, going to the gym afterwards, and getting home with just enough time for dinner and 8 (realistically 6) hours of sleep. I don’t have the will to do this 12 months out of the year, but when I do I’ll be prepared for the weekend project or competition. A job forces structure into life because there’s no choice, whereas a climbing bum relies on a love of the sport to initiate regiment. I love the sport, but not like a honeymooner. We’re expecting gifts of silver on the next anniversary.
And so goes it. Embrace the art of the weekend warrior. Accept that the everyday job is necessary. Accept that a good job is worth the same fervor as your next climbing goal. For those of us who’ve been burnt out time after time and then don’t give a damn about climbing, let the absence make your heart grown fonder. I find that it’s the standard I challenge myself to live up to that ultimately determines my level of success, regardless of the obstacles encountered along the way.