Wheeler Peak, the only significant peak I have climbed this year. Photo courtesy Charles Young 2012.

This year has not gone as I would have liked. Except for the big trip to the Grand Canyon, Zion and Great Basin, I haven’t climbed — either rock or mountain — nearly as much as I would have liked. Neither have I kayaked, other than paddling in my backyard. I was supposed to climb Middle Sister a few weeks ago, but an averse withdrawal from some medication I was taking forced me (by doctor’s orders) to withdraw from that trip. Now, a few days before I was set to leave for Mt. Rainier with Charles, the guy I went with on my big trip, informed me that he was dropping out of this trip because — it still makes me angry — his twenty-something daughter got spooked since we were going as a two-man rope team instead of the ‘traditional’ three-man team. She had done ‘some research’ and decided that she knew more about climbing than I do, apparently.

This is two years in a row that I have had a major slowdown in my outdoor activities, and I do not like it. I live for outdoor recreation, and here I live in a region famous for it and I find myself going through another semi-wasted summer. It started out very promising in the spring, and then the early summer, but now it has fallen apart. I don’t know if I will be climbing any more mountains this year. I hate having to say that.

But at the same time, I have some issues to work out, and perhaps the reason why I am not getting where I want is because of these unresolved issues. I am terribly disorganized, I get serious lapses in motivation and self-discipline and I don’t exercise like I should. Being a big believer in manifestation, I know I am sending mixed signals to the universe by not doing those things.

I stopped working several years ago due to the serious and unrelenting nature of my chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia. I actually did try to get a job a year and a half ago, but I am in an odd position since I was a manager of an incredibly busy and successful business in Eugene, so I am over-qualified for most barista jobs I tried to get, and that is my main marketable skill. I have a ton experience in that area, but despite putting out a bunch of resumes, I didn’t get a single phone call. Never in my life have I ever struggled trying to gain employment.

So, no job, no money, no outdoor trips. It’s as simple as that. I probably could have rock climbed locally on a more regular basis, but my friend Kevin was hurt and then moved to Minnesota, my friend Dave, when we were giving him a space to stay when he was trying to get himself in drug recovery, started being sketchy and looking for drugs in our house, so I am not on speaking terms with him. My friend Scott now lives in Texas. I am almost out of reliable climbing partners.

For now, school, writing and family are my focus. I am forty-one years old, and time is a-wasting for me to start a career. So I just have to focus on getting my degree, continuing to write my various blogs and fiction, and know that I will be able to climb and kayak and hike like I want to when I do get hired as a journalist or in some other capacity. In addition, I also must work on being more organized, more disciplined and I really need to get myself in much better shape.

Life is full of do-overs. This is just another one.

In a year we will be moving to St. George, Utah. It is a year-round playground for outdoor recreation enthusiasts, and being in a bigger city will no doubt put me into contact with a lot more climbers, so hopefully the move will spur much more outdoor adventures.

For now, the focus needs to be inward, to make the changes I know are necessary.


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