Climbing

WordPress provides word-of-the-day prompts for blog posts, but I’ve never written a post based off the prompt before, so I’ve decided to give it a try…today’s word is “climbing.”

A fun fact about me is that I’m afraid of heights. Actually, terrified. I don’t do roller coasters, ferris wheels, or airplanes and I do my best to avoid bridges. My mom is the same way, so I blame genetics (…and a traumatizing bungie jumping experience I had at age 12).

Despite this, rock climbing – especially bouldering – excites me. Indoor bouldering does not involve reaching the same heights as regular rock climbing, but it requires some comfort with the idea of falling. If you slip or decide you can’t hold on any longer (which you will), the only option is to let yourself fall.

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Falling several feet onto a padded surface might not sound scary, but when trusting gravity is your only option, it can feel unsettling.

The thing about bouldering is that both the climb and the fall are challenging. That’s why I sometimes spend long periods gripping the holds, even though it’s impossible to climb any farther. As humans, we are wired to avoid dangerous situations, even when there’s no “real” danger involved, so instinct tells me to keep holding on.

Like bouldering, life is a sequence of climbing and falling. We’re always working toward something – grabbing on and pushing off, strategizing and hoping and sometimes holding our breath as we get there. Occasionally, we have to force ourselves to let go, other times we jump willingly, and then there are times when the decision is made for us and we find ourselves in free fall without a chance to prepare.

And usually, we end up being okay after we fall. We get up, chalk our hands, and begin again, becoming stronger climbers and safer fallers with practice.

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