There are many unknowns to face as a climber. You have yourself, the rock, the gear, the weather, your fellow climbers, and even fate itself to factor in when you climb. It’s a calculated risk, though. Climbing is a combination of exploration and tried-and-true methods of getting there and back again alive and well. Marriage is a similar endeavor in many ways, but it seems that marriages don’t return alive and well as often as they used to. Why is this? Let’s look at this a bit closer.
Marriage is an agreement made between two partners that they will be in a monogamous, lifelong partnership together, through thick and thin, sickness and health, hell and high water, till death do they part (and in some religions, beyond that). We also have a 50% divorce rate in this country… So, one out of two of these partnerships crashes and burns after some amount of time goes by (the longer the partnership lasts, the more painful the crash-and-burn). We rarely take into account that one person may have crashed and burned more than once undertaking this endeavor when we hear these statistics. I’m becoming one of those repeat casualties. When I got married for the second time, I said that this would be my second and last marriage, and I meant it. I still do. It’s not my choice this time, but I love my partner enough to set him free if he’s that unhappy with me because he deserves happiness just as much as I do, and I love him enough to give him that. My life, thus far, hasn’t turned out as planned, but I don’t know anybody whose life has! I guess I hang with the wrong crowd in that regard, haha. Well, life can hurt awfully bad sometimes, and I’m feeling it. It’s an unknown.
It’s an unknown, therefore I’ll face it like a climber, because that’s who I am. Calculated risk. Check my gear. Examine my status. Do a systems check. Stand back and look at the route. Visualize the ascent. Commit the first few moves to muscle memory for an onsight attempt. Get my tried-and-true climbing shoes on. Get my harness on. Tie in. Have a trusted belayer check my setup and check theirs in return. Safety first. Make sure I have my personal anchor system, my Prüsik cord and carabiner, my anchor sling setup, my chalk bag with quality chalk for a good grip on reality, and my belaying psychiatrist and friends to take and give slack in the rope as I prepare to lead this pitch for only the second time in my life… I hate this pitch.