- No climbing -
I have been climbing for some years already, so trust me when I tell you not to practice rock climbing — you’ll regret it.
First of all, once you have tried climbing, you won’t tolerate your mediocrity when doing other activities. After finding that one thing that really takes you to your absolute limit both physically and mentally, other, or previous passions, start feeling less exciting, less satisfying, or even a tad empty. You will get used to giving it your all at the wall, and not giving your best at other times will feel unsettling. Seeing what your body is capable of and noticing how you continue breaking mental limits of capacity and fear, your self-esteem will grow and get stronger.
And not only will your mind get stronger, but also your body. You will start getting sculpted beautifully by the hard exercise that climbing intrinsically puts you through. Due to this you will start having higher standards for yourself and your self-worth. You will care more about yourself and will feel even more miserable whenever you get injured, because not only do you get the pain of the injury, but you also get deprived of doing that which you love so much. Due to the risks and strains of climbing, you will get injured, and you will absolutely hate it.
If you practice climbing you will be in constant pain and in constant risk. Climbing is genuinely dangerous and if something goes wrong you could get heavily injured or even die. But you will learn to love specific types of pain, and specific types of risks. You will seek them. You will love them. And the fears and dangers just make you super aware and appreciative of yourself and your surroundings. The thrill of the climb, the potential of things going wrong, make life oh so more exciting and enjoyable. It will become increasingly harder for you to experience thrill the more you are exposed to climbing.
If you practice climbing, you will develop an obsession. You will begin to get distracted from your boring routinely activities in life like work or commute because you will be thinking of your next trip, on your project, your next gear buy, reading climbing news, watching training videos, or pretty much anything about climbing. You will be obsessed either with exploring more, with getting better, with getting stronger, with climbing the most beautiful or enjoyable lines, with pushing your limits, with developing the scene for others, or simply with the outdoors, wanting to be outside.
The outdoors… oh no. Once you start, location will become a big issue in your life. You cannot go climbing just about anywhere, you need to go to beautiful and majestic places all over the world, with some of the most breathtaking views you will ever see or experience. So, you will need to start traveling more, to places with natural beauties you barely even imagined and in countries you never even considered visiting before, because without climbing it really makes no sense.
Another sad thing you will experience if you start climbing, is that you will lose some appreciation for the luxuries and many beauties of life. Rather than a beautiful and luxurious room in a fancy 5 star hotel you will start preferring spending the night camping in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but the starry sky above you, the rivers and the mountains around you, a sleeping pad below you, great company besides you, and pure warmth inside you.
And the people, ooh the people. Once you start climbing, you start loving climbers, climbers will become some of your closest friends and you will most likely stop trusting everyone who isn’t a climber so easily. After quite almost literally putting your life in the hands of your climbing partners and seeing them reciprocate the trust, it becomes very hard to trust non-climbers. You will notice that most climbers are some of the most open-minded, easy-going, light-minded, free-spirited individuals out there, and you will start befriending strangers out of the blue simply because you can be pretty sure they are great people simply because they are climbers. After spending a couple of weeks climbing with a group of brits and Italians you literally found at the airport, after hitching a ride in a sketchy camper van from czech dude you met online, or after spending the night with a random spanish you bumped into in the mountain, you will have trouble finding that same amount of trust in non-climbers, and you will feel constantly bummed about other people not living up to your expectations.
So final warning, I’m telling ya, don’t practice climbing or you will regret it. Your philosophies, your values, your way of living and your entire view on life will change, and there is no turning back from that. Your ambitions will change, many will perceive you as mediocre simply because you will shift your priorities in life from what is expected from young adults in the later stages of neoliberalism into what you actually deem important for you. As a climber, being so intertwined with nature, you will recognize the burden we are to the world, you will see firsthand how we are destroying it. You will begin worrying and feeling the urge to stand up for your local forests and mountains, for green energies, for healthier lifestyles both for people and the world. It is so much stress and so much work.
So really, if you want to avoid all these troubles and burdens that come with climbing, you should not just practice it, you should live it. Dive deeply into climbing, submerge and fully adopt it as a way of life rather than a hobby. And believe me when I tell you, you will never even think about turning back.