Since I’m off #TryingStuffInJordan right now, I thought I’d open the floor here at 3Up Adventures to guest posts about #tryingstuff.
Susan and I met online over two years ago. I’ve loved following her during that time as she’s discovered how much more she’s capable of than she ever knew: during a tough time she turned to exercise as therapy and has become someone who runs more 5K races than I can keep track of! During some recent adventures in online dating, she was invited to a climbing gym but she’s scared of heights. I love this post for it’s honesty about what really was important about the experience.
My most recent #tryingstuff moment all started off with what appeared to be, from the outside, an innocent enough text message: “If you’re feeling bold, want to try rock climbing tonight?” Just a few words on my phone screen attached to the name of a cute guy I was interested in. But they were loaded words. And they scared the crap out of me. We had gone on an amazing first date, he’s an adrenaline junkie and I… am not. I’ve never been a thrill seeker, I’m scared to death of heights and here was this attractive man who just a few days earlier, sitting next to me over dinner, joked about how he was going to get me to jump out of a plane this summer. But it’s the middle of winter and skydiving season was months away, so I was safe.
Well, mostly anyway. If I accepted the rock climbing invite, it would mean a second date (yay!), but would also mean my feet would have to leave the ground. My feet would have to leave the ground and help propel my body up a wall with only a rope and trust in someone I had only spent a few hours with keeping me from plunging to my death (ok, I admit that might be a tad over dramatic). I’m not exactly athletic, or coordinated, so accepting the invitation was only going to lead to me looking awkward, which generally isn’t the look one goes for in the early stages of dating. And I was scared.
The beauty of it though was that I also felt like I was in a position that the only acceptable response was “sure!” because I was still very much in the wanting to impress stages of getting to know someone. He knew I was scared of heights, and here he was offering up a second date opportunity for me wrapped in the package of trying to push me out of my comfort zone. So I took to the internet with panicked words to my girl friends to ask what I should do. And was met with a handful of comments about how awesome of a date idea this was and how they were excited for me.
So I said yes… and proceeded to panic for the rest of the work day. The funny thing about getting out of your comfort zone and trying stuff, is that generally you have a really good time doing it. And I will admit it, it WAS a great date idea, and I’m so glad I didn’t chicken out like I normally would have because the really shocking thing? I want to go again!
We went to the local indoor climbing gym that’s in an old mill building. They even turned the elevator shaft into a climbing route! (I didn’t do that one.) My date walked me through the basics of how to tie the knot, how to belay, etc. He was calm and relaxed and I tried to soak that vibe in as much as I could. And then he hooked me up to a rope and told me to give it a go. At first there was only one other pair climbing so it was quiet and I didn’t feel like everyone was watching me clearly being a beginner and not knowing what I was doing.
As I walked up to the wall trying to not shake, I did have a moment of questioning what I was doing there and wondering why I had agreed to this, but then I grabbed my first handholds and told myself I WAS going to do this. I may have only made it halfway up the wall before getting stuck and not able to find a path to continue going up but it doesn’t matter. This wasn’t about making it to the ceiling, this wasn’t about impressing a cute guy with my killer climbing skills. This was about pushing my own limits and proving to myself that trying new things can be scary but can also be fun.
For the next 30 minutes or so we alternated climbing and belaying until the place filled up and got too chaotic for me and we decided to head out. I never made it further than about ¾ of the way up any of the walls, but I tried my best, at no point did I say “I can’t” without at least attempting it first. And maybe it was because I was trying so hard to not look like an idiot, maybe it was because the nature of rock climbing engages your full body and mind that there was no opportunity for me to think about the fact that my feet were no longer on the ground. But my fear of heights never kicked in. The panic attack I was so sure I was going to have never came.
Walking out of the building my date told me he was proud of me and that if he hadn’t known it, he never would have expected that I was scared of heights. More importantly, I was proud of myself. Did I love it? No. But I didn’t hate it. I can honestly say I had fun, and it is something that I would like to try again. I even looked in to it online and another local indoor rock climbing gym offers a ladies only lesson night where women climbers walk newbies through the basics of rock climbing that I would really like to sign up for. I’d love to gain some working knowledge of climbing now that I know I actually can do it without freaking out, and go again to see if I can do better, maybe even make it to the ceiling!
On a random Tuesday night in January, I learned that trying something new can be totally scary, but that it can also be a lot of fun. I said yes to something I would normally say no to and it is an experience I am so happy I got to have. I can only wonder now what my next #tryingstuff adventure will be!