People who know me pick up a few strange things about me straight away. I never wear matching socks. I hardly ever eat supper. I get up super early. And most of all, I’m chronically bad at resting. As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten marginally wiser and gotten better at it. But still, 4 days has been the maximum I’ve ever rested from climbing and that was forced upon me.
So it was with a mixture of fear and excitement that I agreed to go on my first non-climbing holiday in 9 years. My partner and I were feeling burnt out in a number of ways and we were desperately seeking a break, from work, from our routines, from life. Originally we were supposed to go to Mozambique but when those plans fell through it was a short skip of imagination to choose Mtentu, one of Ev’s favourite places on earth. And with good reason.
A few months ago I got called up to do a photoshoot at Howick Falls. My first thought was “eep”. I remember being quite daunted by the falls years ago when we were there for a comp. I didn’t actually go down the “dark side” that day but I heard from the other climbers just how intimidating it was.
But the more I thought about it the more I got excited about the idea. That first trip was so many years ago, when I had just started climbing. It would be thrilling to go back and see what it would be like now.
The past year, and especially the last month or so, has been pretty challenging and tiring. There has been a lot of Go and often, when I’m driving long distances from one mission to the next, I contemplate the Why of it all. Is this really where I want to be at? What would I improve/change? And every now and then you get those moments that crystallise and give a big YES.
This past week had a handful of those. A kid that I coach walked in beaming and told me “good news! I’m going to Cape Town.”
I didn’t have the context but soon realised that he meant he had been selected to compete at the Youth Nationals in Cape Town. When his mom had come to me a few short months ago she had asked me with tongue-in-cheek to make him “not suck”. He was new to competing and was placing 8th at the time. But his natural talent was all too obvious and I was thrilled to work with such a keen pupil. “I owe it all to you” he told me after informing me that he had now jumped to 2nd place. Well, right then that warm fuzzy feeling threatened to consume me and make me burst into flames.