Life Update

As I finish up the second week of structured training since coming back from my shoulder injury, I’m happy to report that I’m feeling good and the shoulder is pain-free. There are some movements/body positions that do bother it, but I’m avoiding those and climbing well otherwise.

There are three things I want to blog about today. It’s been a while, so let’s get started.

1. Training

I know the important takeaway from the past two weeks is that I’m climbing again, and that’s all that should matter. For the most part, that’s true. But I’ve been feeling very frustrated and discouraged at times – more frequently and intensely than before. I know that I’m nowhere close to where I was in terms of performance before the injury, and I know that there’s a long road ahead of me to get back there, let alone make any sort of progress beyond that.

It’s been very up-and-down. I think the majority of the problem is a lack of consistency at the moment, something I hope to regain sooner rather than later. I’ve been good about staying motivated to train, but I’m letting a negative and pessimistic attitude creep into play while I’m actually climbing. Not the way you want to approach things.

It seems I trade good sessions with bad sessions. But each session feels a little better in some way than the one before. I’m trying to look at the overall big picture. There’s been a definitive upward trend over the past two weeks, but if I look at each day-to-day, there’s more fluctuation. Just something else to learn to deal with move forward from.

2. The Future

This has to do with both climbing and not-climbing. In terms of climbing, I’ve really been thinking about what my future holds in the sport. I climb because I love it, but is the time and effort I put into it really worth it? What am I gaining from all of the training, the hours spent at the gym, the sacrifices, etc.? Will I ever really amount to anything more than another gym rat in the future? I really don’t know. I like to think that if I work hard enough, I’ll achieve my goals. But I realize that there’s a very real possibility that I may not. Not necessarily because of a lack of effort, but maybe just because I’m not good enough. There it is again, that negative attitude.

Ultimately, I climb and I train because I love it. I love the people I’m surrounded by, I love Earth Treks, I really love everything about it. And that is enough for me. I’m trying to keep my climbing future pretty open-ended, and I’m thinking that’s the best way to do it.

And, more broadly, I’ve been trying to figure out what my overall future looks like. For a while, I thought I’d return to school to pursue my PhD. But lately, I’ve been questioning this plan, and now I will almost definitely not be enrolling in the Fall. I’m looking for other jobs in the DC area, hoping to make a change and really get my career started. Is this the right path? Is grad school the right path? Should I take time off? I don’t know. We’ll see what happens and where I end up. Life is weird.

3. Work/Play Balance

Or, more generally, balance in general. Do I spend too much time climbing and at the gym? Maybe, maybe not. Do I not spend enough time with non-climbing friends? Almost definitely yes. Should I be more dedicated to my job, to my career, to “real life”? I don’t know.

While I was injured, I was able to catch up with people, spend time away from the gym, have more of a “normal” social life, do other non-climbing things. It was a good break, but I felt like I was stagnating, and I didn’t really care for that feeling. Now that I’m back climbing, I’m attempting to do a better job of balancing all the aspects of my life. Having a real training routine for the first time ever is certainly helping that.

I’m still learning so much, and I still have a lot of growing up to do. It’s always interesting to look back and reflect on where I was a year ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago. And I’m certainly excited to see where I will be a year from now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now.

The past few months have been unexpectedly interesting. I can see that 2013 will be unlike any other year I’ve lived so far, and I can’t wait to see what happens.

So for now, apologies for a somewhat off-topic post and my lack of updates lately. Lots going on in my life! But more to come soon, that I promise.

Thanks for reading – stay stoked and climb on!

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One response to “Life Update

  1. Thanks for this, Dustin. I’m struggling with a lot of these same problems lately–school saps my energy, leaving me drained at the end of each week. I maintain a commitment to climbing, but it’s at a pretty high (unsustainable?) cost to other aspects of my life. This is me at 23–thinking about quitting grad school, spending a lot of time wishing I was somewhere else, trying to figure out how to build the life I want. I’m confused, but I’m not trapped. When I have quiet moments, I’m excited. The future is unknown, but it’s gonna be awesome when I get it figured out! You’re not alone in any of this. Good luck with training, and good luck with figuring things out. 🙂

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