Sunday, May 2, 2010

If Your Life Sucks a Good Antidote is Nostalgia, or Adventure

I think I say to my friends, more than once each day, how crazy life is. I’ll say something like this, “gosh, life, man it’s crazy.” I have one more exam till I’m done with my undergrad education. Something that has taken me roughly six and half years to complete. That’s crazy.

I feel pretty nostalgic currently. I had a devastatingly sad fit of nostalgia two nights ago, aided by Coldplay and being alone.

So what’s to be learned from being nostalgic?  It’s sad to think about all the people that I used to be friends with that I’m no longer friends with. It’s sad to think about the amount of classes that I’ve been in that I just tried to pass and didn’t spend as much time as I could learning the material. I’d like not to give a life lesson on making the most of your time in college by putting all you have into it, but rather, tell you with an analogy.

There is a climbing wall on Appalachian State’s campus that I just recently started climbing on. My friend Elisabeth, with an S, asked me if I wanted to climb and since I love doing new things, I, of course, wanted to. She introduced me to bouldering and I have been forever hooked. Particular routes, with hand and foot holds, are marked using tape and are rated by difficulty. One star, two star, and three star. The rules are that, in order to complete a route, you can only touch with your hands or feet the holds which have the particular color of tape of the route you’re climbing.

I wasn’t a natural but I picked up climbing fairly quickly and enjoyed challenging myself. Once I got past most of the one star routes, one in particular making my hands bleed, I started on the two star. The jump from one star to two star is almost unbelievable. I’ve said out loud many times when trying a two star, “Is this a joke?” But this isn’t the analogy yet. The analogy is this.

The two star climbs are so hard that I had to spend hours and hours working on them. I’d go up to a route try it and not even get the first hold. I’d work on it an hour and finally get that hold. I would leave, come back to the gym and try that same route again. I’d see people do the same route with ease and knew that I could also do it but I wasn’t strong enough yet. Just to give you an idea there are roughly 5 to 7 holds per route and I would spend about forty five minutes to an hour trying to get to the next hold. Mind you, that when you get to, say hold 4, and you fall, you have to start all over again to accomplish the route. I would go to the gym for an hour each day and get one more hold.

Some of the two stars came easier than others but there was this one that haunted me every time I entered the gym. Like every other time I put my shoes on, put chalk on my, once bleeding, now callused hands, and attempted the climb again, I would fall and people would give me advice and I would try again.   There was one hold that I couldn’t get. I looked at it in the face thinking: it’s so stupid that I can’t do this. After spending roughly 6 hours on this climb I got to a point that I’d never got to before, I hung on for dear life, willed myself to the next hold and finally jumped to the final hold 12 feet off the ground. I hung there for a second in amazement thinking, “I did it.”

I let go and landed on the ground and let out a huge yell that could be heard by the hearing impaired. The staff said, “No yelling please.” This sense of accomplishment has almost never been rivaled in my life. I worked so hard and so diligently on one route for 7 hours and finally, one time, I got it. I was ecstatic. I was elated.  I was jubilant. I was triumphant. The only thing I could think was: why does it feel so good to accomplish something that took so many hours and why are there not more things like this in my life.

I want my entire life to be like this climb. I want to see my end goal in life, have 5 to 7 holds to get to that goal and work on each hold till I get it…even if it takes an hour on each. The desire to have a story to tell when I die doesn’t permit me to live my life like I’m not climbing a route. Some people work this hard at college, I didn’t, and don’t. I didn’t care about the goal of graduating. This next season of my life is going to be spent accomplishing goals that I want to accomplish and not wasting time doing things that aren’t story worthy. If you’ve never climbed before, turn the TV off, get out of your bed, and do something you've never done. I’d love to go with you. Depression years for a happier life. Nostalgia yearns for a return to the past. This man isn't going to spend any more time on depression or nostalgia, rather I'm moving on. I'll end with a quote from A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. "...I wish people who struggle against dark thoughts would risk their hopes on living a good story-by that I mean finding a team of people doing hard work for a noble cause, and joining them. I think they'd be surprised at how soon their sad thoughts would dissipate..." I agree. Love. War. 

Things you should think about:
-Fire just happens to burn things. The eyeball just happens to work. There has to be something else going on than happenstance. 
-Doing things that make your hands bleed makes you feel like a man
-Drinking beer gets old
-Women are beautiful

Things to watch:

1 comment:

LBanik said...

All I gotta say to you Page is, Thanks. I enjoy reading your posts, and I always get something out of them. This one I would have to say thanks for the inspiration and the analogy. I enjoy bouldering when climbing as well and have felt that feeling of accomplishment before over getting a certain path, its a great feeling, I can't wait till I feel that feeling on other points on my journey through life.

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