It’s just not a holiday if I don’t spend three or more hours at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Over Thanksgiving, I got stuck at good old DFW for five hours when my flight from New Orleans back to Denver got delayed. This past Christmas, I spent a solid three hours at DFW on my way to Virginia for the holidays. Quality time at DFW is pretty typical for me these days.
What was I doing heading to Virginia in the first place? Well you see my family has slightly relocated to Virginia these days. My brother moved to Charlottesville four years ago, and my mom just moved to Lynchburg from Missouri this past summer. To make a long story short, my family moved from Colorado to Missouri for my dad’s job when I was 10, and I spent my formative high school and college years in the Show Me State. My parents then divorced when I was in college, and my dad moved to the Chicago area. When I left Missouri to go to graduate school at the University of Denver, it did not really make sense for my mom to stay in Missouri. Fast forward to this past summer when my mom moved to Virginia and we all lived happily ever after!
This Christmas marked the first time that I got to see my mom’s new house in Lynchburg, Virginia and I absolutely loved it. I was even more impressed with how much I liked Lynchburg.
Yes Lynchburg is notoriously the home of Liberty University, the uber conservative school founded by Jerry Falwell. Yes Lynchburg was one of Mitt Romney’s bastions of support and final campaign stop this past campaign season. But Lynchburg is also home to several neighborhoods full of cool, old houses, including the one where my mom lives. Lynchburg is home to a viable historic area with a local shopping and dining scene. And Lynchburg is home to Rise Up, a good little climbing gym located downtown that I had to check out.
I was especially excited to climb with my brother, who was the one who first even got me thinking about climbing. If my brother had not gotten into climbing himself, I doubt I would have been as motivated to ever try it. I really wanted to make him proud of my improvement, since I was a total novice the last time he saw me climb this past May when I visited Virginia.
Unfortunately I had a super frustrating time at the climbing gym. Climbing can be such a mental sport, much like long distance running, and because I had been putting so much pressure on myself to do well for my brother, I forgot to have fun. Instead of having fun, I just got mad at myself when I could not get a smearing move on a 5.9 climb.
I like to think that I did learn a lot from having such a frustrating climbing session though. I actually used to have a rule for myself when I was running in high school and college that I was allowed one bad practice per week. If I did not allow myself to have a bad day, I would never have been able to mentally get past being frustrated on an off day. It’s probably about time I apply this perspective to climbing. A bad climbing session at a different gym is not going to ruin my “climbing career.” You know what’s going to ruin climbing for me? Forgetting to have fun.
I semi-recovered from my frustration by the end of the climbing session. I now have more personal goals and areas that I want to work on when I get back to Colorado, which is not a bad development by any measure!
After the session at the climbing gym, I got to focus on my favorite side effect of climbing: eating whatever the heck I want. I’m running and doing less cardio than ever right now while also not making an effort to eat healthy. And I’m seeing no negative consequences. I think it’s the two hour climbing sessions twice a week. Seriously.
Even though I had a slight meltdown on the rocks (it happens) at Rise Up during this Virginia trip, I have no doubt I’ll be back. I can’t wait to show my brother how much I have improved during my next visit! And in the meantime I’m going to try to not take myself too seriously. Life is too short to not have fun while climbing.