Constant justifications are exhausting

I have been struggling to feel inspired. Or to think of something worth writing about. Or, to think anybody else would be interested.

To be honest, everything has been a bit of a struggle lately. I seem to have to fight for something every day. I keep having to explain my decisions or actions to people. And I’m a little bored of always feeling like I’m on the back foot.

Positive things are happening, but really really slowly. I’m making progress, but my progress doesn’t pay well. So, I’m trying not to stress about money, while still trying to be realistic.

What I hate, is spending more effort on worrying about something than working toward a solution. So, I’m not worrying. I’m taking baby steps, and I’m feeling nuggets of inspiration all of the time, but never anything that feels like it will be more than 500 words.

What’s the deal with that? You can say a lot in 500 words (we are currently at 156 here). Maybe I’ll just take things 500 words at a time. I’m much better in chunks anyway.

I climbed this week for the first time in three. It’s been a tough few weeks and my climbing was all over the place. I felt sluggish and weak (I am going to start worrying about Tough Mudder very soon). But I still did some good climbing. I did some shockingly bad climbing too, but I believe there was less of that than usual. I managed to stay more calm and when I got freaked out on one route, I just called it. I didn’t push myself too far. It’s always on the same wall – I think it’s too light there maybe? There’s no mystique and nowhere to hide.

I also managed to fall from the absolute top of the wall. I had one hand on the final hold and I just fell. I was laughing before my bum was on the mat. A guy popped his head around the corner to see if I was okay. My morale wasn’t damaged by this, I just got up and we did something else.

I had two highlights climbing this week.

1. I had no memory of the route I’d flashed before. I argued about which one it had been as we looked at it. My friend tried it and struggled. He did it, but was puffed when he came down. I said “see, I can’t have done that one before”. I swear, I stared at the wall and could not figure out how to get to the top. He told me to just do it, I’d done it before, so I could do it again.

He was right. I just did it. I don’t understand what the gap is in my head about looking at something and doing it, and how the two things can feel so different. Like they are two completely different languages.

This is an important metaphor or demonstration for me. I have spent so long looking at situations and problems and trying to figure them out. Sometimes, by the time I get to actually doing them, I can’t see beyond what I’ve thought. And maybe I don’t pay enough attention to the truth of what actually happens.

I need to remember that firstly, just getting up there and doing it can be better. Scary, but not impossible. Overthinking can be more dangerous. More time to know what you could or should be scared of can result in hesitation and bad decisions. Taking too long to get something done can mean you run out of energy to finish it. True in climbing, true in life. For me at least.

2. My friend and I were trying what looked like an impossible route to me. Hell, I didn’t finish it, but I can still see it when I close my eyes. And it was really fun trying. But that’s not the highlight. I fell off, laughed and we talked about what I’d done. I noticed a guy was watching us. My friend had another go, but before he went up there, I gave him a suggestion that I thought he should try. He then managed to get three holds further than before. My turn again. One hold of progress, we confirmed that my legs were about 5 feet shorter than his (warning: this could be an exaggeration).

The guy was still watching us. I asked if he wanted a go (I talk to strangers more readily than my friend). He said no, he was just looking for inspiration since he’d been struggling on it too. I looked at my friend, told him he was up. I knew he was going to make it that time.

You know how some people go to pieces when others are watching and some people get stronger? He gets stronger. And he totally nailed it. Highlight.

I think I fall to pieces when people are watching. Which could be why I feel like I’m fighting at the moment. It feels like I am in the spotlight and I’m having to justify everything to people. I need to stop doing that. I need to have confidence in what I’m doing right now – and not the quiet confidence, I need to have the loud variety. Because this is going to work. Even if I don’t know what it is yet, I am not going to fail. Whatever it turns into, will be an achievement.

That’s the beauty of vague ideas and ambitions. You can claim any victory against the original goal. So long as I’m honest with myself about that, and don’t claim that was the plan all along, I don’t have a problem with it. Do you?

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