You know that feeling when the seed of an idea appears in the back of your head, and when you start talking about it you feel surprised at how excited you feel? The seed turns into vague plans and, if things go well, eventually into something real.
That feeling, the bursting at the seams excited feeling; I feel that way about four or five things right now and they all are related, in some way, to climbing. I’m trying to figure out how to squeeze the most out of the limited vacation time I have at work, and out of my paycheck.
I dreamed about Devil’s Tower last night. All night. I felt like I was in the middle of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Kind of ridiculous, but even more awesome. We have a goal. We have possible dates. We’re climbing the tower this year. Excited? I can’t even tell you. Scared? Oh yeah. Looking forward to working through that and accomplishing something amazing? Absolutely!
Plans about trips, climbing, and several other new ideas are all racing through my head, vying for my attention. I want to do it all and I want to do it all now. Before climbing appeared in my life, I don’t remember the last time I felt this way about anything. It had been a long time. The feeling is so compelling it makes me want to drop everything and follow it. To train, learn, get out there and do.
I am fortunate to be finding things that I feel so incredibly giddy about. But I also need to reign myself in. I saw Dean Potter speak a few months back when he was in town, and something that he kept coming back to was the need to be aware of what one is prepared for. That excitement and passion is intense, and he’s found himself on several occasions in situations that he wasn’t ready for. In other words, I need to follow these passions, but also make sure that I’m giving myself the time to learn the things I need to in order to be safe and confident. Experience is invaluable, and experience only comes with time.
I have six new climbing books sitting on the table in front of me. I have a brand spanking new rope to play with. I will be tying knots and building anchors all over the house. But, most importantly, I am going to take these skills outside with the supervision and instruction of experienced climbers. Practice, practice, practice. That is something I will have to remind myself as I learn, too. A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
My passion for climbing is something that has taken me by surprise. It’s pulling me in new directions and is changing my life’s path in bigger ways than I ever imagined. I have to follow, but I am also deciding right now to be smart about it.
Follow your dreams, and be safe.