At some point in 2011, I became a climbing instructor at the local rec center near my house and somehow this position has followed me around ever since. I enjoyed doing it, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t passionate about it like I am about rain. Or the ocean. Or how other people are stoked on climbing.
My friend Forrest (pictured above) once told me that he likes to stay fit by doing things that make him fit: climbing, playing sports, kayaking, etc. He didn’t like to use the gym because it just seemed pointless to him and he didn’t enjoy it.
For several years this haunted me, because I attend the gym regularly and felt like it was less cool than staying fit by ‘doing things’ like climbing. Climbing has always been something that I say yes to if friends invite me, we go, and I have a decent time. But again, I am not loco about it.
I have to clarify that because again in Chicago, I found myself hired at a gym near my school as another climbing instructor. This was a pretty big step up from the rec center, because they employed real ratings and had far more technical routes than the previous center. I learned a lot there. Despite working there for two years, I never fell in love with the sport the way my friends have. I liked using it as a workout, but that was it.
Now, a couple years later, another climbing job has somehow plopped itself into my lap. It was offered to my roommate, he couldn’t fit it into his schedule, he offered it to me, I got it.
Now I teaching climbing to middle schoolers, not because I’m more passionate about it than Kanye West is about Kanye West, but because it pays well.
The only reason I say all this is because for years I felt almost guilty for not loving climbing the way many friends do. I felt like I was missing something. Turns out, there wasn’t anything wrong with me. These same people probably see the ocean the same way, or running in the rain, or lifting weights. Maybe they can see the perks, but it doesn’t get their blood flowing like it does mine.
And that’s okay.
I don’t have to have the same passions as everyone else. If I want to stay fit in the gym, I can do that. If they want to climb rocks 1,683 different ways, they can do that.
I don’t feel guilty anymore for looking at big slabs of rock and saying, “so what?” It’s better to do what I like to stay fit than to try and force it. For my friends, it’s one less noob on the rock. For me, it’s more open ocean or free weights on the rack.