Embarassing as it is, I do actually know some non-climbers. Some of them are unavoidable (family), some of them are due to odd circumstance (a few friends). Quite often they accost me with bizarre proclamations:
"You're looking fit."I might look *whatever*, but that is irrelevant to me. Half the time I look okay I've still been too lazy and inactive.
"You seem to have lost weight."No I haven't. I've put on 3 pounds since you last saw me and have been desperately failing to shift it.
No, I'd be crazy NOT too. I have to keep fit and I have to keep training. That *should* be normal for me.
"You're heading back home to go to the gym? You're crazy."
"You're like the Duracell bunny, you never sit still."No. I really wish this was true, but it's the polar opposite. I spend far too much time sitting on my fat arse, being inactive, badly motivated, and disorganised.
"Stop moaning about being weak, you're much stronger than normal people."So? I don't care about comparisons with normal people, I care about what feels right for me, and what is right by my standards and the standard of the activity I'm involved with.
"Don't worry about not exercising today, you can have a day off."No, I absolutely cannot and must not. I MUST keep exercising for my own health (DVTs + seeming high tendency to weight gain) and my own sanity (passionate about an activity that requires fitness and strength).
Basically non-climbers look at me and think I'm doing great physically. This highlights two things to me: Firstly that their standards are the utterly wrong ones for me to pay attention to and judge myself by, and secondly, when I consider their comments by the correct standards, then whilst I am generally doing "okay" physically for myself and my climbing, I'm not doing "great".
I am a CLIMBER*. I am passionate about and dedicated to a challenging physical (and mental) activity, and I enjoy pushing myself and progressing (or maintaining) my ability in that activity. It's not something I "do", it's something I "am". The standards I judge myself by are those of an athlete - albeit an amateur punterish athlete, but an athlete nevertheless. Ideally I focus on that activity, I do it a lot, and I train both generally and specifically for it. Ideally I would have an athletic attitude, to get the most out of what I enjoy doing physically.
Except, of course, I don't: * - I am a climber but that is sort of mixed in with being a geek, being a gamer, being a depressive sort, oh and being a bit of a cripple too. My attitude is tainted with a whole load of issues that you fuckers don't need to know the details off but that inhibit my desires and motivation and encourage me to sink into ruts of inactivity, whilst my tangential other interests allow me to wallow in those ruts all too easily. Hardly the attitude of an effective athlete, is it??
I need to have that athletic attitude. Not in a rigid, dry, monotonous, excessively regimented and scheduled sort of way because whilst I want to be a better person I don't want to be that sort of better person, and the regimentation doesn't really work with my climbing passion. This is why I'm writing about ATTITUDE, the attitude of training and exercise and activity being the complete normal status quo. It's more of a generalised way-of-life thing. In which I am fit.....I do maintain (or even lose) weight.....I go to the gym often because that is totally normal.....I don't sit still all the time....I do keep strong.....and maybe then, with the right attitude, I could even afford the occasional day off because it will be in the context of regular, normal, dedicated action and activity.
I NEED TO HAVE THAT ATTITUDE.