Idleness

Unfortunately I’ve spent the last couple of weeks not really doing anything terribly difficult or exciting.  A lot of recovery, sleeping, and re-settling since this winter due to a lot of things, but primarily to do with the fact that I had injured both meniscus while snowboarding.  I’ve been working hard to stay on some kind of gym schedule, but haven’t had much success.

Then I discovered that I tipped 170 pounds last week.  I’m not happy.

To help me get back to a program, I grabbed the Boulder Fit training program from Power Company Climbing this weekend and set my schedule on my calendar.  Going to start trying to get back into things.  I desperately need to kill my sugar intake and get back down to my bouldering weight at about 155 pounds before this coming Fall if I want to have any chance at working on any of the outstanding boulder projects I still want to complete.

The special project I’ve been avoiding announcing is also coming along quite well.  I’m hoping to have it in a more presentable state later this year with some quality photos and a more stable “game plan” for this coming Fall and Winter with regard to splitboarding and climbing.  Suffice to say, I want to be doing a lot more this coming season.

Like everyone else

Heroes and leaders:

  • Put on their pants just like everyone else.
  • Have to stretch, train, learn, practice, and fail like everyone else.
  • Wear protective gear and take safety precautions like everyone else.
  • Speak and listen to others as they’d want to be spoken and listened to (like everyone else).

There aren’t any secrets. Humility and intelligence are essential.

But what’s missing is you.  You have to work hard.  Just like everyone else.

Comparison is self-robbery

It robs you of perspective.

Of appreciating how far you’ve gone and how far you have yet to go.

Of understanding that the comparison isn’t fair or valid.

Of the fact that the people you’re comparing yourself against have had or are currently having challenges that you can’t even bring yourself to think about

Of the truth:

It’s not a competition.  If you think it is, maybe it’s time to re-frame.

Kneepads

Something that struck me recently was the revelation that some of the people I look up to the most in outdoor action sports and adventure wear kneepads.

Jeremy Jones and Travis Rice wear kneepads.

I didn’t initially think about it, but I went back and looked again and I was dumbfounded.

Some of my heroes, people that loom large over a sport and lifestyle I hold near-and-dear to my heart, wear freaking kneepads.

The profound realization hit me like a ten-ton hammer.  It was something I “knew” in the back of my head, but because of all the media I tend to consume around snowboarding, climbing, and the adventure lifestyle, details like that tended to escape conscious thought.

The issue is abundantly clear to me now: that shouldn’t have been a realization at all.  This should have been an unspoken, unbreakable truth.

Jeremy Jones, Travis Rice, Chris Sharma, Red Gerard, Eric Jackson, Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, Daniel Woods.  Every single one of these names take their training, their safety, their preparation, and their lives seriously.

Jeremy Jones himself has said in multiple interviews that if he’s not absolutely sure of the conditions of a particular line, approach, or base-camp area, he’ll pull the plug on the whole damn trip.

It’s something that’s given me pause.  Even people at the absolute pinnacle of their sport have to take the time to plan, train, learn, prepare, practice.  Then, and only then, can they really execute.

And the entire reason why this is prescient at all: I’ve had to start wearing soft knee sleeves.  This past winter, I compressed and caused significant stress to both meniscus.  In an effort to let them heal and support them while I still actively train, the knee sleeves became essential.

To be honest, I’ve had mixed feelings about it.  I don’t see “the pros” or “the greats” wearing sleeves or braces–but that’s likely due to marketing and visibility than it is with any real difference in strength or skill (though that’s certainly a factor).  I’ve alternated between feeling terrible about it and understanding that it’s a necessary part of my kit now.

But knowing that even Jeremy Jones and Travis Rice need a little more support from time-to-time in the form of kneepads and sleeves makes me feel a little less bad about it.

Honesty

It can be scary.  It can carry a lot of energy and sound like someone’s unloading.  Maybe that’s the point.  All their fears, desires, and dreams laid bare.  Maybe it carries a lot of intensity.  That’s certainly something I’ve gotten from people in the past.  “You’re too intense”, they’d say.

Maybe that’s born out of a desire to not mince words or waste anybody’s time.  To an honest person, nothing is worse than superficiality or superfluousness.  Ephemeral words and meaningless interactions–that’s a quick way to make an honest person frustrated.

If you’re interacting with an honest person, you’ll know it.  There’s a noticeable lack of pretense, sometimes a very disquieting conveyance of intent.

Get to the point.

Which isn’t to say that an honest person has a lack of whimsey or creativity.  For the things that matter to them, they’ll spend hours talking about nuances and minutiae.  These things aren’t trivial, they’re essential to the point.

Which begs the question: why aren’t you this honest?  Wouldn’t everyone’s lives be better spent being honest and vulnerable?

Because both take courage; something many people claim to have yet few possess.

Do we really…

  • Communicate like we mean it?
  • Love each other the way that we deserve?
  • Engage in the work that matters?
  • Really know what we want?
  • Treat others the way we would want to be treated?
  • Treat ourselves the way we would want to treat others?

If you feel even the slightest pang, and you’re honest with yourself, chances are good that there’s some room for improvement there.

Fault

Is it the fault of the struggling individual to ask for help?

Or is it the fault of the peers, onlookers, and bystanders who either ignored the struggle or never acted?

Your answers to these questions might show you more than you think.