Lately, the best way to unplug from work and forget about the day is rock climbing.
Folks at work don’t believe me. Most non-rock climbers ask, why would you do something so dangerous?
They don’t understand. Rock climbing is about problem solving. It is about functional strength. It is about fear management. I have been doing a lot of thinking about why I climb, and how I climb, and these thoughts keep coming back to me. On nights when I’ve had a long day at work now, sometimes the only way I can completely shut down the thoughts of the day is to walk into the gym, greet some of the regulars, and get on the wall. Alternatively, my partner and I would go outside, but we have busy schedules that stop us from picking up and driving out of state to crags.
Instead, the colorful, candy-like, gravelly new holds at our gym have to do. The short but intense moments of effort, pulse-pounding, bursts of pain and weightlessness. Figuring out how to reposition your body, or if you even can reposition it, or push it, or force it to do what you have to do to get one move farther in a problem, or best case, to finish. The shrinking of the world when you hit something, scrape something, slip and knock a limb, your fingers, your knees. Beyond that, the conversation and discussion of technique or beta among the other climbers. The off topic conversations about life.
All of these things take precedent in my mind and help push that which does not matter from work out. So what I tell my skeptical coworkers is that nothing puts what we do here in perspective better than doing something dangerous. Because our work doesn’t save lives. No one will die if we’re late. Everyone there works hard and deserves not to work 100 hours a week. Is our mission important? Sure. But should we work ourselves to death?