Can you rest on your laurels?

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Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 2, 2018 - 02:44am PT
Getting old has me thinking....

When I was young, I used to believe that my memories of youthful adventures would comfort me in my old age. Especially my exploits in the Valley, and climbing El Cap. The climber's life!

But....

Now that I am here in my golden years, I am NOT finding any comfort in my memories of youth. In fact, my memories are having the opposite effect. I'm getting pissed off.

I used to run trail ultras, carry 100-pound backpacks, and ski off the summits of peaks. Now I can't even negotiate a flight of stairs. I am not f*#king happy.

Are your memories of youth & climbing helping you to cope with degenerating joints and advancing age?
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Dec 2, 2018 - 04:01am PT
Deep subject, Doc.

Sometimes such memories exacerbate my cool, too.

I try not to mope or dwell too long and to seek the brighter side of life.*

I'm still here while many others ain't.

Small comfort, but it's all I got.

* Watch "Life of Brian" for details

Wish I had given up smoking or never started in the first place.

So, having said that, I don't have a real "right" to feel pissed off except at myself.
jaredg

climber
california
Dec 2, 2018 - 04:17am PT
You have to have laurels in the first place in order to rest on them. Plenty of folks get to your position without having done much more than slave away at dead end jobs forever. Hopefully that's some solace.
Bushman

climber
The state of quantum flux
Dec 2, 2018 - 04:37am PT
Time the Gift or Curse

When I was young
and carelessly bold
I rarely reflected
on the pain and cold

But as years went by
I mused somewhat
with a beer in hand
and stew in the pot

How the injuries felt
they took longer to heal
I’d contemplate this
while I ate my meal

Thought there’d be more days
‘for the next conquest
achieved but a tenth
what I’d planned at best

The days grew short
as well my spine
So I read more books
while remaining supine

‘Till one day I
could barely get up
to tie my shoe
or to eat my sup

So now I am lucky
though no longer a pup
and delegate labor
when my body gives up

I count the hours
the minutes the days
they’re all I’ve got left
in so many ways

As life goes by
as well goes our youth
our friends and our pets
we get long in the tooth

As the years do pass
‘twould be well to do
accept there’ll be loss
with your victories too

-bushman
12/02/2018
skywalker1

Trad climber
co
Dec 2, 2018 - 04:51am PT
Paragliding




Changed my life!

S...
Don Paul

Social climber
Washington DC
Dec 2, 2018 - 05:04am PT
+1 for paragliding. You can still fall hundreds of feet and die, but don't need much athletic ability. I've only been a passenger but plan to get into it when I don't have to live in an East Coast city and have more time and money. Looks like the best places to learn are Utah or the Karakoram (Adventure Travel Pakistan).

The one thing I never lose is my balance. Maybe take up slacklining one day, it doesn't look that hard.
zBrown

Ice climber
Dec 2, 2018 - 07:05am PT
Torry Pines GliderPort

Looked, but I never have touched

Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
Dec 2, 2018 - 07:22am PT
Could be the dickish attitude is causing your body to reject your brain. Spend more time thinking how to kill a man...maybe that will make you happy. Ass
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
Dec 2, 2018 - 07:22am PT
It took a while to admit it to myself, but there is no denying that my hardest routes are behind me.
In the last 10 years I have expanded my outdoor repertoire to include more hiking/backpacking, peak bagging, mountain biking, and river running. I have especially taken a liking to mountain biking.
Right now I am waiting to have my knee repaired, so hiking is out, but I can still ride without pain.
I'm planning a river trip for March, that's not too hard on the joints either. Hopefully, I'll be back to bagging some more peaks in the San Juans next summer.
I realize now just how much pressure I put on myself to climb harder and harder routes. I pushed myself on the rocks for 25 years or so. Now, I just want to continue knocking off classic moderates as long as I can. It is nice getting into new sports where I'm still on the steep part of the learning curve. I know I'm a noob, so there is no great pressure for incredible performance. Just having fun and staying healthy . . .
capseeboy

Social climber
portland, oregon
Dec 2, 2018 - 07:34am PT
I could never climb as much as I wanted to due to physical limitations and this often times sent me into a deep and dark depression---I thought climbing made me who I was. Many years later, and after several close calls while solo free climbing, and many come backs, I came to understand climbing as just an extension of who I am, not who I am. I also wasn't as humble as I had believed myself to be---I had this epiphany after an instant karma experience.

I heard a statistic that less than 1% of climbers solo free climb. I don't mention this to boost my ego; rather, as a point of how lucky I am to have survived my bone headed self. So many have died while still in their prime, while fate let me live another day.

Fate has also allowed me to live long enough to realize that I am not the horrible person I thought I was. The horrible me had been way overblown in my mind; just as my identifying with climbing had been.

For the most part I don't lament not being able to do what I can no longer do. I do feel fortunate for having been able to do what I did. So many never get the opportunity to choose, or live through, the intoxicating joy of the extreme.

To me climbing is completely meaningless. But I believe the psyche, to be healthy, has the instinctual need to struggle, to roll the stone uphill. For eons we have struggled to survive. Going to the supermarket doesn't quench that psychological need for challenge. Although some days it seems like it is. Har har.

I still enjoy some of the climbing community, the camaraderie. I met a beautiful being by just being available to give them a belay. It chokes me up just thinking how meeting this person over a few days helped me feel a richness to life again.

There are still challenges out their for you my friend. One could be just challenging you own beliefs. Another one might be to not challenge yourself for a day....Best wishes.

Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Dec 2, 2018 - 07:37am PT
Wow, Flip, you seem to beautifully represent the attitude you purport to despise. Well done.

Re. the OP: Yeah, better to have some laurels than none at all. I've had so many climbing-limiting injuries over the years that my laurels aren't too fancy, but I've done a few worthy ascents, but I've gotten pretty good at appreciating whatever I can do--biking, hiking, etc. Right now, I'm dealing with ANOTHER finger injury that will keep me off climbing for a good stack of weeks, probably a couple of months. Gah. But yesterday, I hiked in the shadow of the Mt. Humphreys with my wife and our happy crazy cattle pup. I'm working on another bike tour through the desert. We need to be more flexible in our satisfactions because they can too easily be taken away from us. And Ledge Rat, you really can't climb stairs? Whoa. That's a tough one. You have my sympathies. Books and ranting on Supertopo are still fun!

BAd
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Dec 2, 2018 - 07:38am PT
Dude you need to get on Forged in Fire.

DMT
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Dec 2, 2018 - 07:41am PT
hey there say, Sierra Ledge Rat...

not sure if this will help, but, it is true...

i have seen it 'in action' ... though not many choose to do it:


you first, but realize, that all that you HAVE done, is part of you...
and be very thankful for the things you have already enjoyed, but:


then, realize, that the whole world 'runs on cycle's and seasons...
even, animals in nature...

cared and nurtured...
young and into life...
survival...
maturity...
and old age to death...

the trick is to LEARN/TEACH YOURSELF to LOVE who you are...
and to love yourself, as a NEW person...

yes, all that you have done, is still you...
but-- there is a LOT MORE to you, than you know...

it is not all about 'having old joints now and injuries'...
keeping you from past pursuits...


it is about-- maturity and 'fine wine' (example) ...
fruitful youth was a gift to us (some used wrongly, others did not, and
some never had good choices) ...

now-- in maturity can be your best years-- WHY REST ON LAURELS:
when you can grow 'the rest of you' and-- forge new trails?


ask yourself, and look at yourself and make decisions...
what are thing you never tried before that can open
the 'you that was dorment' or, the 'you that was just SEEDS that WILL
AND CAN GROW, RIGHT NOW...


look at all you know... you have so much to offer... find out
what and how... become:

THE REST OF YOU!!! don't let it never have known, the unknown...



:)


*may sound goofy, but, folks that have life-changing injuries, have to,
(if they want to) do these thing, even in their youth, before they
have even become the 'fine wine' time of maturity...

some, little kids, even have to CHANGE trail completely--
and make they NEW self, into a future, while STILL BEING-- the same self
that they were born-to-be and are...

we are multi faceted... and, amazing creatures, if we let ourselfs
'let go' and 'latch on' (like vines) to the 'rest of our life'...




even us mom's that raised kids, go through this...
maybe dads, not as much... but, we, who carried the baby, and
were 'one with it' -- had to let go to 'phase of ourself' and:

go one to the next phase, and not rest on the laurels, or-- we'd
never know our 'next potentials'-- after the kids were adults...


it should not be about old age and wasting away...
it should be about -- how to 'til THIS 'last season' of our life...


what will we NOW grow?
with the tools that we have...

will we 'till alone' or, with friends or family...
each one of learn and decide-- and then, DO...
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 2, 2018 - 09:29am PT
SLR, feeling you! Pretty sure those monstrous packs were not indicated. My primary
benefit of reminiscing is that I made some good survival decisions and I was lucky.
Robert L

climber
Dec 2, 2018 - 09:41am PT
Fighting in wars and being a I-wanna-be-known-as-a-bad-arse-MTB’er-or-climber, rise few positives in me. Other than East Timor, the wars were all wrong-wrong-wrong. And wanting to emulate the all-in climber was an energy suck.

I am way younger than you. While I still climb and MTB a tonne, I am glad I changed my motives before becoming a crusty fart.

Changing the diapers of homeless people dying of cancer makes me smile.

I get the most joy from reading books to 4-8 year olds in school.

Try changing what you do, so you have no idle time for harking back. Perhaps doing more for those worst off. Or getting busier doing more positive stuff for younger generations.
moosedrool

climber
Andrzej Citkowicz far away from Poland
Dec 2, 2018 - 10:00am PT
Robert L, excellent post!

I tend to get pissed when I can’t do what I like. That’s pure selfishness.

Thank you for reminding me.

Moose
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Dec 2, 2018 - 10:00am PT
I live in the past.

I like the life I chose for me.

My body is broken in many places. And its frustrating. The last ten years have been nothing but pain.

But I chose my path & I'm proud of it.

The only thing I would have done differently was not retire from racing at 26, I should have kept racing. I would not be walking to day if I had, but looking back I was faster then ever when I quit.
couchmaster

climber
Dec 2, 2018 - 10:07am PT
Sierra Ledge Rat observed and asked:
"Getting old has me thinking....

When I was young, I used to believe that my memories of youthful adventures would comfort me in my old age. Especially my exploits in the Valley, and climbing El Cap. The climber's life!

But....

Now that I am here in my golden years, I am NOT finding any comfort in my memories of youth. In fact, my memories are having the opposite effect. I'm getting pissed off.

I used to run trail ultras, carry 100-pound backpacks, and ski off the summits of peaks. Now I can't even negotiate a flight of stairs. I am not f*#king happy.

Are your memories of youth & climbing helping you to cope with degenerating joints and advancing age? "

No. When I look over at my 97 year old mom, and then at my knee, I have no solace nowhere:-) But I live in the richest country in the world at an amazing time...have no complaints. I will note that I always loved just getting out in the middle of nowhere, last 2 times I tried that I didn't get very far due to creeky knee issues, and that's a tad frustrating. Guess I'll have to like car camping a bit more?


Flip Flop noted:
"Could be the dickish attitude is causing your body to reject your brain. Spend more time thinking how to kill a man...maybe that will make you happy. Ass "

Lighten up Brook. The man is a Doctor. I'll bet you have no idea how many lives he's saved or how many folks he's helped.
Trump

climber
Dec 2, 2018 - 10:23am PT
I think the most important pressure on our human psyche is finding some way to approve of ourselves and to motivate ourselves to be the one who survives in this survival of the fittest environment.

So if we need to create some attractive fiction that helps us believe how much superior we are to all those other mortals - go for it, doing that is our birthright. If that involves remembering how awesome we were in our youth, ok, that seems innocuous enough. I definitely prefer that to the way many other people do it.

For me personally, nah, not really. I just honestly am that awesome, so I don’t have to fake anything! I’ll bet the same is true of you.
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Dec 2, 2018 - 10:25am PT
I think you're being too hard on yourself. I think it's a matter of perspective.

As a young man, in the 70s, I was rock climbing at what was a 'high' standard. While a mile behind the curve now (I'm nearly 63) I'm climbing as well if not better than then......... That's because of gyms, equipment and knowledge, and despite dodgy knees, operations on elbows and other random illnesses and injuries..

But even if I wasn't I would consider any level of activity in this game meaningful. I'm lucky to be able to challenge myself at all, never mind 'try hard'.

I do spend a lot of time reflecting on my past adventures and enjoy doing so. it motivates me to have more fun! I know from your posts you've done a ton of stuff climbing and flying. Enjoy the reminiscences and enjoy what you can do now, what you do now is a memory for tomorrow.- It's all worthwhile.

Give yourself a break. ;-)

Steve


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