Since my two loves were taken away from me I was devastated, that is, until I found a new love.
I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old. I remember crying because I didn’t want to go to soccer camp; at the end of the week, I was crying because I didn’t want to leave. I started skiing at the same age and have skied for a month with my family every winter since then. I went on to fulfill my dreams of playing soccer for 4 years in college. These two sports brought me lifelong friendships, unforgettable memories, and molded me into the person I am today. This was my life, until everything changed.
After multiple knee surgeries I decided it’s in my best interest not to partake in sports with such a high level of impact. From my earliest memories on, soccer took up a majority of my free time, so without the two sports I grew up with that brought me so much joy, I was left with a void in my heart and continuously thinking, “Well, now what…” I was struggling with finding purpose.
I hadn’t figured out what was next for me until I was already consumed by it.
Since moving to Utah in December, I joined a gym with a climbing wall to have the option to climb with my friends when I wanted. Why not? I had climbed twice a couple years prior, but I had no idea of the love affair about to blossom. Since joining the gym I started climbing 6 days a week and taken multiple climbing trips down to Moab and to the Wasatch mountain range. I had never felt something like this before.
For me, climbing is completely different than anything else I’ve ever done. Essentially, the act of climbing puts your body in a fight or flight mode; when you’re on that wall all you can think about is how not to fall off. Your hands sweat, your legs uncontrollably shake, you know you’re attached to ropes that will catch your fall but you can’t quite convince your body that. It’s almost impossible to think about anything else.
Rock climbing is an investment. It takes a vast amount of knowledge of safety precautions to complete your first climb. Everything you must learn you must never forget because you could die. Even with all the safety precautions, being in the element of nature is a wild card in itself, so you kind of have to be slightly crazy to partake in such a sport. But that’s the thrill of it.
Through climbing I’ve learned:
- To not be scared to try new things
- To trust my body physically, which helps me trust myself mentally
- It’s okay to trust others with important things (even your life sometimes)
- There are more important things in life than how you spend your free time
- How you spend your free time is one of the most important things in life
- If you’re open to it, you can find another passion in life
- If you’re falling (or things are out of control) relax, you might not get hurt this way
- Life’s a journey, a long, strenuous, devastatingly beautiful journey
I asked my rock climbing partner why she climbs and she said this, “I rock climb because it challenges me both physically and mentally. It pushes me out of my comfort zone, it makes me trust myself, my feet, my hands and my mind. Climbing is an escape, a destination, and a journey.”
Rock climbing is a way of life. To make it simple, my life is now broken into two parts: when I’m on the wall and when I’m not. Here’s to many more adventures and making the most out of life.
I aspired to write this not simply to share my story about climbing, but to open up a conversation about how we all deal with loss. Whether it be due to injury, illness, death, suffering, heartbreak, we’ve all lost something. And we’ve all made it past it or are making it past it. How have you coped with things you’ve lost? Have you ever had to give up a passion? Do you tend to hold on or move on? Thanks for reading and let me know below 🙂
For another article by me about how to love the repetition of life, read: https://pointlessoverthinking.com/2020/01/10/how-to-love-the-repetition-of-life/
My personal blog can be found here: http://www.ellieejay.travel.blog