An Elephant in the Room

Maybe it’s just age, or maybe I was just tired. I don’t see myself as an older, or even an aging man, but I’m certainly not a young man anymore. When I sat down in Hidden Valley Campground with the young dirt bags and the hippies I just felt out of place. The strange part is that I was one with them not too long ago. What happened? I even had a spot at Hidden Valley Campground, but I was so out of touch with the people and the culture within the park that I just sold the campground to some travelers desperately trying to find a site in the park.

I drove home excited to be going back. I’d only been gone for a day. I’ve spent months on the road adventuring in the past and never thought twice about going home. I left San Diego with $400 in my bank account and stayed gone for nearly 3 months. I never even thought twice about it. I lived off of peanut butter and water. I was so psyched on it. It was like an obsession. It was an obsession.

I think that’s what is coming to mind now. My climbing career really began while I was in college, like many others, and anyone who’s been to college has probably experienced the safe haven it can be. When I was in community college I was busy working full time, and I went to classes at night until I was ready to transfer to university. But in university they didn’t offer the night classes, and as I transferred my life was in strife. It was the perfect recipe for rediscovery, and it was the perfect time for a much needed break. I started taking out student loans so I could just enjoy myself. It was a worthwhile investment.

While I was at SDSU I quit being a responsible adult, and my closest friends and family just watched my spin this new way of life from scratch. I traveled all over the country climbing. I climbed big sandstone walls in Red Rock, and massive granite monoliths in Yosemite, and traveled far and wide to the great mountain ranges of the western United States getting my fill of high altitude alpine granite. It was infatuating. I began to question what the purpose of life was, assuming a nihilistic perspective of nothing matters except what we teach ourselves to matter, so we might as well absorb hedonistic concepts. Rock climbing was my hedonist pursuit. It was all I needed.

As of late, I’ve been spending a lot of time at home climbing with really good friends and long time partners, and really have taken a lot of time to utilize the amazing climbing that San Diego has. Not many people consider San Diego as a climbing destination, and while it may not be worthy of international travel, it sure is an epic place to live. You know what I like about climbing in San Diego? That I get to go home to my bed at night. That I’m not constantly trying to figure out where I’m going to stash my car, or about bears getting into my food, or about how I’m going to get my next meal. You know what else I like about San Diego? That there is enough climbing to satisfy my appetite for adventure everyday.

The next day, home in San Diego, I jumped in the water to get a taste of a maxed out big WNW swell, and then went to Morley Field to hop on the slack line. When I got there I met a guy around my age, who was also setting up a slack line. We got to talking and became friends, two young men approaching 30. We related and laughed about how much things have changed from the dirt bag days to where we are today. He is an officer in the Navy now, and I’m also now taking into consideration some preparations for my future.

That is not to say that I have some big goal, or big dream, but instead that I cannot continue neglecting my life and pretending like it doesn’t matter. I think it’s dangerous to let any one thing define us. The ticket is being well-rounded in many areas that bring forth more passion and promote a better well-being. There are far too many flavors and colors available to enjoy for us to limit ourselves to any single one–no matter how beautiful it is. I think the variety makes us just that much more grateful and passionate about those things that hold the top spots on our list.

Climbing is one of those things at the top of the list. And as good as it is, it’s not worth giving up everything for. Fucking a… I changed. Back to the drawing board to redesign my life. Until then, I’ve got a flight to catch to San Francisco for work… Yep, it happens that fast.