The other night I went rock wall climbing with a few of my hiking family. Most of us had little to no experience. We were filled with anticipation and a little a bit of trepidation.
We picked out our shoes which hugged our feet and would give us better grip, we put on our belts and listened to the instructor give basic directions.
Then one by one, we got a turn at that first wall. Odd shapes "rocks" jutted out and beckoned to us. I did notice a few hearts among them and immediately felt this sense of determination and confidence begin to set in. They started us off on the least challenging route. A few of my friends went before me and I cheered them on and I felt the excitement building. It was my turn, the instructor tied the knot onto my belt, tugged and said you're all set. I asked about the knot, a girl's gotta know how secure she is when she finds herself scaling a wall then suspended in the air and falling back to the earth, relying on the ropes to keep her safe. Then I took that first step upwards and off I went up the red route. I made it to the top with relative ease. I reached the point when it was time to let go and jump down the wall, this rush of excitement washed over me as I let go and made my way down.
I landed safely on the ground and my heart was pumping out of my chest, I was breathing fast, I felt a bit light headed as my body shook uncontrollably. I don't ever remember having such a feeling. It was amazing. I can't even begin to imagine what it is like to scale a mountain in the wide open thousands of feet in the air...
Next up was the blue route, a bit different, less hooks and a few straight bars. Once again it was my turn and I set off, up, up, up, up and then I found myself struggling to hold on when I reached the straight bars. My outstretched arms, small hands and short fingers could not grip enough to support my body to maneuver up to the next hold. I tried multiple times, determined this wall would not beat me, made it up a little bit further. But it was not to be. This route was not my path to victory. So I decided to give my weary arms rest and wait for my next turn on another route.
There were several more routes I tried and with that came a few more victories and one more incomplete attempt. At the end of the night, my arms were a little sore, and my body had a slight ache, but I knew for sure, I would be coming back again because I enjoyed it so much. Will I attempt to conquer the two routes that I had difficulty with? Perhaps, but maybe not my first time back. I'm thinking I will leave those for the point when I have gained more strength, technique and experience.
If you were to ask me how rock wall climbing was, I wouldn't go into the details I described above, rather I would tell you it was awesome. I loved it and I can't wait to do it again. But on the car ride home these thoughts about climbing and life in general kept swirling around in my brain.
We are told that we can do anything we want if we work hard for it and put our minds to it. The truth is, that is not always the case. Some things may be out of reach for us no matter how hard we try. It doesn't mean we have failed or are less than, it just means that the particular path we were on was not the correct one for us. However, we must always be willing to try something different and accept that there is more than one way to achieve victory. Never stop searching for your path.