I remember landing my first kickflip; I was so psyched! I spent hours every day practicing in my driveway and on the street, eagerly anticipating the day that I would finally get it. The feeling of progression and the hard work that pays off in the moment when you finally succeed– this is a feeling that is super important for everyone to experience.
Everyone should have a hobby or an activity to pour their heart into, and for the longest time, mine was skateboarding. I had skater friends, skater clothes, and I was always thinking about skating. Everything I saw was a potential line or gap that was skateable in my mind and parsing out details in my mind was what I did during idle time. Skateboarding was my life, and it was who I am. It defined me and nearly everything about me. One day, my friends moved away, the summer heat plagued the coast, and my skater lifestyle subtly came to a close. I fed off of the progressive drive on my own for a while, but my mindset and actual progress was hindered when the social aspect disappeared.
When my skating career came to an abrupt end, I lost that element of physical progress and decided to focus my energy elsewhere..
I spent about three years focusing my time and energy into Halo 3 and my first two years of college were spent on World of Warcraft. These were a great way to control that feeling, but left something to be desired. The difference lies simply in the aspect of reality. I was proud of all of the progress that I made in both of these virtual realms; however, I don’t have anything tangible to show for it. With skating or climbing, there is a physical skill or a real place associated with my accomplishment.
Around eight months ago, I visited a climbing gym with two friends. We went because we had just heard about it opening, and we all had a desire to try something new and adventurous; that was the night that I knew. It had been so long since I had experienced that feeling of a physical challenge, and I knew that this was going to be my next passion. Within the next month, me and three friends acquired memberships at our local climbing gym, and not two months after that, I was volunteering (and now employed) at the gym that I went to on that first night.
Today, I’m at the same point in climbing that I was with skateboarding 5 years ago. It’s my life, and now I can see the difference between how I am when I have something physical (like rock climbing or skateboarding) to pour my time and energy into and when I do not. I’m happier and healthier both mentally and physically, and I’ve realized that (mentally) there is no difference between a dyno and kickflipping a 5-set. I live for the challenge of new routes, for solving new boulder problems and I thrive off of The Stoke. I encourage everyone to find something physical to pour yourself into, whether it be rock climbing, cricket, or LARPing; be passionate about something. You deserve it.