The Re-Entry Blues

One of my friends here in Minnesota just returned from a climbing trip out to Red Rocks and had a fabulous time. He posted videos and photo collages and made us all jealous that we were sitting back here trying to live vicariously through our computers. A week back in Minnesota and he wrote this post lamenting the mediocrity of Minnesota climbing options compared to where he had just been. He’s got the re-entry blues.

‘Re-entry’ is a term that I first heard from my outdoor Twitter folk. It describes the transition of returning to everyday life after a fabulous trip. Returning to work after spending a week in the mountains, returning to the not-very-tall crags of Minnesota after climbing in Red Rocks, returning to civilization after some time in the desert. Even after a short trip it can be a bit of a shock. The longer the trip, the more intense the re-entry period.

Montana trip, 2010. Re-entry was tough!

Re-entry comes in a lot of forms. This week I’m returning to normal daylight hours after nine months on the night shift. Even though I’m excited about the change, being surrounded by people again will be a shock to the system. I remember dealing with re-entry in college after a particularly busy semester, or after a solo recital when I had been locked in a practice room for two months. There was a definite feeling of “now what do I do?”

Re-entry is the downside to a great bit of traveling, or a week of great climbing. It’s returning to ‘normal’ when normal feels a bit foreign. It’s the process of re-calibrating your gauges. But I also like to think of it as an indication that I just did something.

  • Re-entry after an awesome trip? I just went out and had an awesome trip!
  • Re-entry after my nine months of overnight shifts? I just got through something that really challenged me and came out the other side.
  • Re-entry after two months locked up in a practice room? I fully committed to giving the best recital I could.

I can feel good about all of those things. Each of those experiences help me to grow as a person. They teach me something about myself and make me stronger.

Maybe the process of re-entry is so hard because one is returning to their ‘normal’ as a slightly changed person.

What have your experiences been with re-entry? Any advice that you can offer for others?

6 thoughts on “The Re-Entry Blues

    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Nice, Richard! I’m glad that I’m not in a flaming fireball heading towards the ocean. At least I don’t think I am….

      1. Eileen

        Well if you are heading to the ocean, I’ll try to intercept you, put you out and take you out climbing, deal?

        Great blog post by the way, I like how you emphasize looking at the experience in a positive light.

        1. Elizabeth Post author

          Thanks, Eileen. That would be much appreciated! The ocean is a vast and scary place…

          And thanks for the kind words. It seems to help me to try and recognize the positive aspects of those kinds of experiences.

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