I’ve been meaning to pick this blog up again for a year and a half now, but since I feel the need to do a thousand things at once, I end up not doing many and only half-way finishing the rest. This is certainly going to be a discontinuous rant, but I’m in the mood to write so write I shall.
I find myself embarrassed when people ask me what I’ve done with my life. I’m going on 30 and have managed to waste the majority of the last seven years. As mentioned above, I am compelled to pick up many things at once. I want to return to school, finish remodeling our home, flip another house, run the gym, open other locations, develop an after school program so that I can tutor again, coach climbing, climb 5.13 and V10, become a national route setter. Every commitment however involves a sacrifice, and that is why I don’t commit. Chris and I spend weekends sitting around the house, working on gym projects, ‘planning’ for the future, afraid to drive to Chattanooga in case it is wet but desperate to get out of the house. If I go back to school, I won’t have as much free time to climb. If we open another location, we’ll have less flexibility. If I devote to training more and climbing more, I’ll miss out on educational opportunities and travel for the sake of traveling. And I just can’t decide.
So here I am, 30 smacking me in the face, ready to change this decade. Maybe I can do it all. If I go back to school, it will force me into a more rigid schedule. I can still work the gym and train partially because I’ll be forced to use my time wisely. We already have our hands tied with another location. We’re both beginning a training program. I’m booking tickets to go to Joe’s for three weeks in April. And it feels good. I do see life passing me by sometimes and that is unsettling. My family is moving on and I don’t get to visit them as often as I’d like. I moved back from the west coast to cultivate better relationships with them only to have them move out west! That’s how life goes. Do the things that add value to your life and the life of others. Let the rest follow its own path.
I am from a very successful family and I was beginning to pity myself for not doing more with what I have. Climbing gyms don’t seem rewarding, community oriented, or philanthropic. I should have become a doctor when I had the chance. I could have really done some good. I read an insightful article the other day about what it means to ‘make a difference’. Can we improve someone’s quality of life through climbing, teaching, creating social opportunities? Yes? We may potentially save a life by providing safety education to new climbers. We’re helping the local community, growing the economy, we’re sharing our wealth with non-profits, with kids who could be at home in a dangerous situation. It’s easy to lose sight of that. Then you run an event to build awareness of non-profits in your neighborhood, inviting low-income or disadvantaged families into your facility at no charge to experience climbing and mentorship, and you see energy and happiness. It’s intoxicating, and you realize that’s why you do what you do.
I’m hoping by writing that I can begin to change my path and my attitude. I’m not a talented writer. I write like a 10yr old who hates sitting too much to read and would rather run around the barn and find ponies to brush. I never matured beyond that stage, which is both good and bad. I want to be outside, I want to be active, to feel productive, but I also want to learn, to sound smart, to garner accolades, which require time and dedication. Maybe I’ll find a nice mix over the next ten years and finally know what I’m living for come middle-age.
I’d love to review climbing gyms, but I’m terrified of the backlash. I have enough trouble in this industry as is. I can’t tell you how many emails I have sent only to be responded to with, “Hi Chris.” Or people who come by the gym and tell me, “I’m looking for the owner, Chris.” Or I’ll be giving a lead test and someone will tell me a story about ‘the owner’ who just so happens to be named ‘Chris’. I am admittedly meek and mild, especially initially, so I get what I deserve. It is totally my fault. I still don’t have the confidence to call a lawyer, to tell the architects exactly what I want, to talk to the general contractor, or to explain my vision for the walls to the Walltopia guys. I’m a work in progress.
I’d also enjoy documenting our journey opening a second location. It is such a cool process. And of course my successes and failures with climbing, being a manager, running a business, remodeling the home, and the like.
And who thinks it’s fun to write when there is no one to read it? Probably another one of my shortcomings, that if it has no impact then it isn’t worth doing.