Another “Experience Friday” was fast approaching for me and I was at a loss for what to do! (Have ideas? Comment below!) So many experiences on my wish list involve travel and pre-planning; so, with just a few days to go, I reached out to a friend for advice.
She took the bull by the horns, let me tell you! Moments after I asked her for some experience ideas, she started cranking them out. Word to the introverts out there – or those who have a hard time getting started on new projects – build friendships with those personality types who get things done! Not only will they challenge you and inspire you to try new adventures, but they will not let you quit!
We discussed a number of ideas – some I had already tried and some I plan to try in the future. The mountain hike sounded intriguing, but I felt uncomfortable with such a strenuous activity at this point in my fitness journey. So, hiking that mountain will be coming up in a few months (Lord willing) – along with the 5k run that same friend just talked me into. ~smile~
After much deliberation, we settled on rock wall climbing for this week (totally my friend’s idea). I did not even know my town had such a facility.
Fear, Fear, Fear! Why is There Always Fear?
My first reaction to our rock wall climbing plans was relief. “I have a new activity to try!” But, it was immediately followed by panic. “Oh man! Rock wall climbing? I have no idea how I will do with rock wall climbing!”
We originally planned to climb on Tuesday, but I encountered a bit of a snag. My puppy, Ramsey, started limping pretty badly that morning and I felt it was important to take her to the vet as soon as possible; so, we postponed our outing one more day. Though I was deeply concerned for Ramsey’s health, I cannot deny the relief I felt knowing I could put off our impending adventure for one more day. ~smile~
Throughout the few days leading up to our rock wall experience, I battled within myself. It sounded something like this:
“I am nervous. But, why? What is the worst possible scenario? I fall and die? Anything short of that will be good, right?! It is going to be fun. Heather, you always do this. You take something fun and instead of looking forward to it, you find some way to worry about it and spoil it. There is nothing – NOTHING – to worry about. They are going to train you. You will be with a friend and your friend’s seven-year-old daughter is a pro. How hard can it be? What is really bothering you? Where is this anxiety coming from? I know what it is. You are not afraid of heights. You are not afraid to sweat. You are not afraid of trying something new. You are afraid of looking like a fool. That is it! It is social anxiety you are feeling, and do you know how I know? Because, the mental image of having the rock wall to yourself sends a tranquil flood from your head to your toes. So what if you are not perfect at it the first time? Is anyone going to care? Will anyone even be looking at you? No. Go. Have fun. Remember what your sweet sister-in-law tells you all the time – ‘Heather, it is supposed to be fun.’ Stop worrying, look at this as something exciting, and conquer it!”
When I found the climbing destination, I noticed a car pulling out of the closest parking spot. It was a sign! God was making my path straight. At least, I wanted to believe God was shining on me in that moment because I was so nervous. It makes little sense why something as tame as rock wall climbing would make me anxious, but I am almost always a little freaked out by the unknown. (That is partially what this year of experiences is about for me. Getting used to the new. Looking forward to the new. Embracing the new. Or, at least, being at peace with the new.)
I walked inside and found… an EMPTY ROOM! Yes! It was just Damien (the trainer) and me. My friend and her daughter showed up shortly thereafter. We signed our waivers, watched our training video, and harnessed up!
Just as my indoor skydiving experience reminded me, wrestling on a one-size-fits-all harness was further confirmation that I need to continue with my weight loss journey. I cannot wait until I no longer feel compelled to ask, “Is there a weight limit?”
Before we set out on our own, we learned how to belay, how to secure our carabiners, and other important rock climbing lingo (e.g., “on belay,” “belay on,” “take,” etc.). Rock wall climbing is, at least in part, a trust exercise. I would not trust my rope to just anyone!
No More Stalling!
My friend’s daughter climbed first. She is amazing… and fast! My friend went next and she rocked it (okay, maybe the pun is a little intended ~smile~). Then, it was my turn. It looked easy enough. “A seven-year-old just completely dominated the wall. Why can I not do the same?”
Wow. So, the first few steps were not so hard, and I highly favored the “rocks” that had deep hand grips. Then it got a bit harder. “Where do I put my foot? I will fall if I step there! (Falling basically means hanging ~smile~) My arms are giving out!” I did make it halfway up the wall, and for a first try, I am happy with that. I climbed a little more and tried some bouldering (short climbs without a rope), but I will have to save scaling the entire wall for another time.
Jelly Arms and Happy Hearts!
Three hours later, my friend and I had jelly arms, sore feet, and happy hearts. It was a lot of fun! We strained our necks a bit looking up at each other, but thankfully neither of us let the height dissuade us from the climb. A few days ago, rock climbing was nowhere near on my radar – and, today, I marked it off my list!
When this year began, my expectations were a bit high. I thought I would set out on adventures I had been reluctant to try and come out feeling like a champion. In reality, I have only nailed a few of them; but, I have gotten started and that is half the battle in most challenges. It is so cool to go from being a couch potato to being someone who is willing and even excited to try something new.
As this year flies by, it is becoming clearer that I have led a far more sheltered life than most. When I set out to try something new, I hear friends say, “Oh! That is so fun! You will love it!” (i.e., “We have already done that. Where have you been?”) When I mention adventures I hope to have, they again say, “Oh! That is so fun! You will love it!” I knew I had not led the most exciting life up to this point, but I am facing the hard truth that I have not lived much at all. It is a pleasure to finally be able to say, “I have done that!”
Trust Building for Couples!
Trusting your partner to hold your rope securely is a must with rock wall climbing. I would never advise you to hand your safety over to a slacker. ~smile~ As you and your sweetie grow closer together, I would recommend a rock wall climbing outing! Not only is it great fun and an incredible workout, but it is a trust building activity. Enjoy the sport and grow closer to boot! After a rock wall climbing experience, you may also be comfortable enough to do a trust fall (falling backwards into each other’s arms)!
Have you or your sweetie ever tried rock wall climbing or other trust building activities together?