Day 218: Calibrate

IMG_2776Tonight’s revelation: I am as good as I am.

Pretty major, right?

Here’s the thing: I really enjoy climbing. But I’m not by any means a really strong climber. I’d love to be climbing a grade or two higher than my current level, but given that I’m in my 50th year, and I started climbing well into my 40s, I’m probably not going to advance too much further–and at some point in the future, I’m sure just holding ground will be a major accomplishment.

I went out to Grandmother Mountain today after work. It’s tucked away in thick woods, just past the far better known (and more easily photographed) Grandfather IMG_2768Mountain. It was our first trip out there, and it really is a great collection of boulders. But I started to get a little discouraged. I could make up a whole bunch of excuses for why I was struggling tonight (it’s different rock than I’m used to; they must sandbag their ratings up here; I probably need to adjust to the altitude a little longer; etc.), but the bottom line is this:

I am climbing at my level, whether I like it or not.

That doesn’t mean I can’t push myself to discover what that level really is. Nor does it mean that I can’t simply enjoy being outdoors and on the rock, regardless of how hard I am climbing. But today, as I let go of my discouragement and just climbed as I could, I managed to put what I was experiencing on the rock into a more meaningful context–let’s call it the wisdom of humility.

I have no shortage of character flaws and drawbacks, that’s for certain. But I also have my share of gifts. And if I can’t see myself as I am, right now, then what chance do I have of being anything but discouraged?

And of course, as the evening wore on and I let go of my self-imposed expectations, I found myself quite happy with my level of climbing. Sure, those other climbers wandering through the crag would call my big send of the evening a warm-up, but for me, it felt just right.

I often remind myself to be gentle with others. Sometimes I need a reminder to be gentle with the person that I am.

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3 Responses to Day 218: Calibrate

  1. Lauren says:

    This is a discussion that I have with myself almost daily. Kindness starts within!

  2. Sandra says:

    Indeed, this is some good and true wisdom!

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