Jane & I went rock climbing a while back. She’s been obsessed since then. When I say obsessed, I mean more conceptually than practically–it took me months to get her back in the rock climbing gym after that first time. But surely not for lack of her asking. And asking. And asking.
Here’s the thing about rock climbing: it’s hard as shit.
I consider myself a pretty active, in-shape kind of person. I could not move my upper body for DAYS after the first time we went rock climbing. Days.
Here’s the OTHER thing about rock climbing: it involves, well, climbing. Up a wall. Far off the ground.
I am afraid of heights. Like, for real afraid.
I freeze. When I was a kid, I used to climb trees. Which was great. Until I wanted to get down. Then… stuck.
I figured rock climbing would be a GREAT way to overcome my fear of heights.
Ahem. I made it about 5 feet off the ground the first time. Jane made it about the same height. Then we bounced down to the ground on our auto-balays. The next climb I made it about 7 feet off the ground. Then I froze. I tried to climb back down, but Jane convinced me to just push myself off the wall and let go.
I did. And I did not die. That felt like a win.
When we went back this time (only our second time climbing), I thought I’d just be able to scamper right up the wall. Or at least up to the highest point I’d reached on my last excursion, no problem.
I got 4 feet of the ground. 4 feet. And I was completely paralyzed with fear. My brain started freaking the hell out, saying a bunch of stuff which added up to: you can’t do this.
I said fuck it and did it anyway.
I didn’t climb all the way to the top. And I had to work at it, going just a little higher each time. But Jane & I made a game out of it: “Can you touch that pink rock that looks like a brain this time?” “What about the orange oven mitt up there? Can you just tap that one with your hand?”
It was… fun.
I didn’t make it all the way up to the top. But I did make it about three-quarters up the wall. I climbed until my hands were so sweaty that they slipped off the rocks, and my arms were so tired they literally couldn’t hold my weigh anymore. I fell of the wall 3 times before I gave up.
Know what Jane did? Everything I did.
She never gave up. She never got discouraged. She pushed past her fear. And she far exceed her own expectations.
It was a very, very good day.