“What am I doing? Why?”

Well, I’m climbing.  I’m a rock climber.  That’s what I’m doing.  Why?  Well, that’s a big question, and a much more important one.  A lot of people wouldn’t think that climbing has any real value beyond scaring your parents to death.  It does, though.  Climbing is the most fulfilling act that I have ever engaged in.  I’ll elaborate.

The other day, during one of the deepest depressions I’ve had in a while, I was sitting on a wooden bench at the climbing gym with my Otaki climbing shoes on, legs stretched out on the grey mat in front of me, hands chalked up, tribal warrior shield chalk bag sitting right next to me on this wooden bench, and I thought to myself, “Why am I doing this?”  A grin began to spread from one edge of my mouth as I looked at the black V1+ problem that I had just attempted halfway and then quit on.  I laughed to myself (mind you, I’m in a deep depression, and the mere thought of why I climb brought a broad smile and a laugh to the surface from the pure fire at my core), shook my head, and got up to climb some more.

Why do I climb?  Because it makes me happy.  It is the only thing that can break the life-sapping grasp of PTSD on my life, if even for only a moment, so that I can breathe and find myself again.  Rock climbing frees my creativity, my determination, and my joy.  It puts death’s grip on the negative stuff instead of my ability to enjoy life and gives me purpose, allowing me to be in the moment – just this position on the wall, just these holds, just focusing on my breath, focusing on the next hold, feeling just this moment in time…  Climbing allows a transcendence of thought and being into a timeless world where every minute detail can be perceived and experienced at its fullest.  Though climbing can bring you much closer to death, in doing so, it brings life back to you.  Stand at the edge of the tall crag on rappel from your anchor point and lean back…  At that moment, you realize how much you want to live.  So live it!!!

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