This silent, quiet, Saturday makes me reflect on, what I think, largely the first half of my lifetime. Things have definitely run the rough road. I’m now slightly deranged but still functioning well enough to get by this wild world.
The only distinct sound I hear comes from this wind chime I bought over from my climbing trip to Japan, October of 2002. It was the year I landed the highest podium finish in the Philippine National Climbing Championships. It was a sweet year for my climbing. That memory though is a distant past. It almost feels like unimportant but somehow, thinking deeply, it was something that has helped me move on as a climber. This year, 2011, again brings with it a new challenge. Slightly 9 years after stepping onto the podium, I am now given the opportunity to take my climbing towards as slightly different direction. My awareness is once again awakened to a new start. Climbing for me is a very personal quest. For me at least, I’ve always been fascinated by how much satisfaction I get everytime I’m outdoors, climbing with nature, and pushing myself to my limit, trying to take myself to a place where the force of nature and my own heartbeat are the only ones existing. Now, however, I am given a new view on climbing. Teaching climbing or at least sharing climbing passion with others has been a residual effect of spending time with others in and outside the gym. The repercussions of actions and mental imposition bore no weight and responsibility. Last May 2011, this non-responsible approach became different. I’m now coach of the 1stPhilippine Climbing Team for the Sea Games. Now, words I say and formulas I have in mind no longer are personal. Sharing thoughts on performance now have to be weighed several times over before getting my suddenly pragmatic personal approval before sharing them to the team.
On one hand, the responsibility is a bit of a load on the back, on the other, it somehow balances my approach to my own personal climbing. I’m challenged by the fact that I’m training the younger and the stronger. It places me in the midst of a lot of energy. I’m also pushed to my limit trying to keep up and also trying to pace the team. I am teaching and at the same time learning as we go on.
I’m not entirely sure of the path this leads to. This road has opened up for me many times before but to fully tread on it has always been jittery. The pattern repeats itself. I’m the eldest of 4 siblings, in high school I led the Marist Photography Club, in college I led the MIT-Mountaineering Club, I even started a short stint as Sensei for the Ateneo Aikido Club. Now once again, I’m faced with a decision. How far am I going to take this? It sure does open a lot of doors and the possibilities seem endless. I don’t know the answer. One thing is for certain though. Climbing has forged me into mostly what I am today. A huge percentage of my life has been devoted to climbing more than any other activity I’ve delved into. I can’t even wait for the day when I can say I’ve been climbing for more than half my lifetime. So maybe the decision will come easy, or maybe even harder. But the fact is, I love climbing and sharing it with others gives me great pleasure. The coaching responsibility is really heartfelt. To make individual members of the team fully realize their potential and to see them breaking out of their old limits is already a reward in itself. The finality of such a decision may take me away from competitive climbing. But maybe it is rightfully so. It will be a step indeed. How to stride will be the next challenge. Who knows what happens next?