I used to do a fair amount of indoor rock climbing when I was in university. In fact, that was one of the reasons I chose Guelph–they had an indoor rock climbing facility on campus. When I attended, they had converted two squash courts in the basement of the athletic centre into climbing space. Even after university, I continued to climb when I could. It was more difficult because there really wasn’t anywhere close. Then I had kids. And even though you’re supposed to somehow find time for your kids, work, and self care, my adult interests were shelved for a time.
And then my kids discovered rock climbing! My daughters are incredibly energetic, have no fear, and (thankfully) have their father’s natural athletic ability. They enjoy a wide variety of sports and activities: biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, snowboarding, ice skating, and now rock climbing. I couldn’t be happier because this means that I can get back into it too! Plus, there are more climbing gyms around so we don’t have to travel far to climb!
They say that you need to find hobbies that help support a healthy, balanced lifestyle. I know physical activity is a big piece of the puzzle, especially at managing stress. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with running and I hate running in the winter, so that’s hit and miss. I used to play some sports (softball and volleyball), but with my head injuries I really shouldn’t be playing anything that could put me at risk again. With climbing though, it’s something I love and it’s both physically and mentally challenging. And the risk to my melon is limited.
I’ve been twice over the last couple of weeks with my daughters and I’m noticing a difference already. It’s not necessarily a physical difference, but this one little spark of light in my life has started an upward trend. When I’m physically active I tend to want to eat better foods. I enjoy the sore feeling in my muscles after a good climb. I have something new to share with my girls. I had to sit on the sidelines all winter because I really shouldn’t be ice skating, snowboarding, or tobogganing. Even walking is hazardous when it’s icy. But rock climbing is something I get to do with them, I know what I’m doing, and I used to be pretty good at it. This is uncharted territory for them–they’ve never seen this level of comfort and interest in sports from me before.
The biggest change is in my attitude though. It’s given me something to look forward to that will make me feel strong and fit again. This discovery has reconnected me with something I love to do. Sometimes, you revisit things from your past and find they don’t “fit” anymore. I may have had to dust off my climbing gear, but it still fits, and I can literally climb the walls so that I don’t climb the walls. Climb on!