Perhaps if I had thought too much of it, maybe I would not have done it, like I do most of the things I think too much about. But Sonia, my girlfriend had been the pulley this time. She had said many times that I was too rigid and never wanted to try out new things.
When she wanted out of the relationship, we had been building for the last 2, and a half years, she made that one of her ridiculous reasons. I felt really bad and mad at myself for relying so much on her and allowing her, who had never earned a dime before in her eventless life to judge me.
That day I was so pissed at myself, and the world, and did not know how to take all the terrible things I was thinking about out of my mind. On impulse, I just decided to go for a walk, probably a jog, but when I got to the road I went somewhere I had wanted to go for a long time but dreaded whenever I thought too much about it.
The gym was a few walks away from my block, but I had never made up my mind to go in there. Today I did not think about it; I was thinking about something else and walked into the gym with less thought of what was going on the gym, or what I would be doing if I signed up.
I approached the receptionist “Where do I sign up?” I asked her.
She directed me and helped me with changing to a proper prop for the sport. In reality, she doubled as a receptionist as well as a trainer.
“Beginner?” I’m sure she could even tell.
“Yes… though I have wanted to do this a long time but couldn’t make up my mind until now.” Even as I said that I realized I had not thought about it to make up my mind.
“My name is Katie,” she introduced herself with a handshake.
“Caleb.” I took the hand and shook it.
“Welcome to Bob & Katie Indoor Climbing Gym. Climbing is easy if you put your mind to it, I can assure you. In no time you will be going for mountains to climb,” she said.
She introduced me to Bob and the other guys in the gym as a new member. Bob took over from there, showing me the different equipment in the gym, the work of each one and the climbing that is suitable and super simple for beginners such as me. What to expect from climbing, and so on.
All the climbing levels had been labeled. Starting from VB which was basically for beginners, and it was just as simple as climbing a ladder or staircase. He showed me that, and I did the climbing after him
Then he showed me V0, which was also very easy like VB. I find the climbing much easy too. One thing I was sure of was that from there on, the rest of the level would lead to lots of sweating, but this time I was not scared. I had passed that the moment I walked through the indoor into the gym. And the last of it had gone when I climbed the VB.
He even took his time to assure me that climbing can be as safe as other sports and be just as dangerous because there was no physical sport that one cannot get injured in; the injuries only differed. And since harness was being used in climbing, it was easy to stay safe while climbing high mountains. He said it took about 30 to 40 minutes to train who would be holding the ropes and controlling the lever while the other person climbed.
The V2 was where the real climbing starts, and it gets tougher from there on. Bob assured me that if I put my heart to it, which he was sure I could, I would be climbing the V2 in no time. Bob himself was not much of a good climber, probably because he limped a bit, though not evident if you do not look well, but he was a darned good climbing coach.
I went back home that day feeling a lot better and lighter. The thoughts of Sonia had gone to the back of my mind. Maybe she was right. Maybe I had been too rigid to try new things. Maybe I found it hard to exist out of my comfort zone — all that had changed since she decided to leave. For that, I was not angry with her anymore. Instead, I appreciated her for pushing me indirectly to go for what I had loved for a very long time now.
I was looking forward to the next day, to try new things at the gym and conquer more fear. I went to the store, got myself a new super fitting shoe for climbing and other wears. I was ready for many days ahead.
The next day I learned about boulder climbing and climbing with rope. Boulder was the one I started with, and when I started to try V3 I would fall many times, crashing on my buttocks, but I kept trying, days after days. I had that hunger in me like I never did before. To go over blocking walls, to conquer mountains, and that drive saw me moving from V3 to V4.
I also started Top Rope climbing at the time. What changed me completely and assured me that nothing was too big for humans to conquer was when we went to California to climb some actual rocks. I found out that our indoor climbing lessons were not wasted but a preparation towards what we would actually see and experience out there.
Although I did not find it easy at first climbing the slick mountain, I didn’t give up. I kept going because that had become my new mantra. To keep going till it is accomplished.