Monday, July 28, 2014

Braving New Adventures & Learning to Carry a Lighter Rack

I should probably explain the title before I begin to ramble like I do. For those of you who do not climb, specifically trad/alpine climb, let me explain a few details about the sport so you understand the analogy as it applies to my present journey.

A rack is the collection of protection you use on a climb. Each climb requires a different amount and type of protection. When you set out for a long alpine climb you have to consider how much protection you will need and how much of that protection you can do without.  The goal is to only carry with you the necessary pieces so that you can move quicker and be more efficient. The gamble is leaving some pieces behind - although you know you probably won't need them and you rarely ever use them on this type of climb - there's always the slight chance these pieces could come in handy - then what? More then anything it's about the security of having too much because of the fear and challenge of not having what you think you need. 

This morning I began to pack boxes of belongings as I prepare to move in a month or less. I'm going through my closets and cupboards finding myself faced with the decision, do I take this with me or do I leave it behind? I'm moving in with a friend who owns a home about a half hour from Boulder in Golden. It's a beautiful location and will offer a lot of new benefits such as a shorter commute to work and to climbing areas, access to a garden by walking out my back door, and the company of new roommates who can share life experiences and lessons with me. It's exciting and it's very scary. I like my apartment now, I like when and how and where I commute to. I like my roommate. I like where all my things are. I've been in this apartment for four years now and it's a place of security for me. So why move? Well my current roommate is branching off on a new adventure and getting married. I can't afford to live alone and at the same time I wasn't having luck finding someone to move in - actually I was hardly making an effort to look. I knew in my heart that it was time to branch off myself and seek a new adventure. I have learned a lot about myself and about the life I want these past four years of living in Broomfield. Now it's time to use that knowledge and move on to the next destination - one that offers new excitements and new uncertainties.  So what do I take and what do I let go of? It's like going from climbing in Boulder Canyon to climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park. I know the canyon and where I can go and what I need to take. It's easy to get to, it's low commitment/risk, and its very easy and acceptable to carry in too much gear - just say it's for weight training :) It's still a fun and enjoyable place to go, but maybe it's time to branch out and adventure somewhere new. Climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park is exciting but uncertain. It forces you to pack lighter and hone into the experiences you had in Boulder canyon and apply those lessons and skills to a new, bigger climb. One that will have you thinking more critically and creatively.  
This is why i have chosen to move to Golden. I could spend the rest of my life in this apartment but then I know I would be ever more complacent. i wouldn't grow - I would miss out on the chance to have new struggles and find new joys. It is exciting to be on the approach to a new adventure. You have a sense of what it looks like and may feel like, but you're not quite sure 100% of what the experience will bring. As I pack and prepare I find myself with the decision to let go of much of what I hold onto in my apartment now, I know I don't need it, I rarely use it - I need to learn to trust, have faith, and carry a lighter load. 

This doesn't just apply to my climbing or living situations - but I'm also finding it applies to my career and to my relationships. Let me start with career..

I made a significant leap of faith this summer by not working the extra few part time jobs I have these previous summers.  Owning a business and teaching doesn't bring in a lot of cash - I make my ends meet every month - but there's always that fear that eats at me of not having money. So instead of just trusting that the one or two jobs I have is enough, in the past I have had up for six or so jobs at one time. It's a lot to carry and I am very very tired - mentally, physically, and emotionally. So I let go and made the decision to keep the jobs that are necessary to continue on my adventure of my career, and leave behind the ones that aren't. Last week I had my first rejection from a possible client. Another tendency I have created is that I will go after any opportunity for a new client even if it doesn't always appeal to me in terms of production, content, or budget. In my head everything and anything is better then just a few or nothing... 
I didn't really want the production, but I was afraid of what would happen if I didn't take it. Would I regret it later down the road? Would it have saved something in my life? Probably not. But it's a constant concern. By not having it however I am more available to really focus on what I do have for projects without all the extra weight on my shoulders.   If I have learned anything in my five years of living on my own it's that I have never been without. And at the end of the day - or end of the month (bill time) - I always have what I need to get me through to the next day.. month.. etc. Take the protection you know you need and feel confident enough that you will get to the next pitch safely even it brings a little struggle. 

Relationships are a hard area to admit excess to, at least for me. I tend to want to hold onto every person that comes my way just in case..
What if I have no one to adventure with? What if I have no one to talk to? But as we move on in life relationships will inevitably change and sometimes you have to decide to leave some behind. Carry with you the ones who have always been there, the vital pieces you always know you can fall on and will get you through the new cruxes of life. Hold onto the few that promise more. It's ok to leave behind the pieces, or people, who have been great to you but aren't necessary to keep and carry forever. Feel free to have a lighter burden of who you give your heart to so that the few you do keep with you really have it. 
Security for me isn't a good thing. It really does convince me to cap where I'm going and what I want. Moving to Golden is my new adventure. And I'm going with a lighter load of materials, relationships, and jobs. I have a sense of what I need and I'm looking forward to being challenged to be creative and work with what I have for whatever may come of this new mountain. I am quite nervous about this all and very hesitant of what to pick and choose to take and what not to.  I am nervous about letting go of some relationships to free myself up for something better. I am nervous about not being overloaded with work and just being productive with a few projects. But I'm excited too for all of it. I know this is the right time to be adventuring out into some new areas. And challenges will come but so will pleasures. And I'm capable of continuing on with life and going for these new climbs with the essentials.
Its not always better to have more then less. (the battle of quantity versus quality). I want to know that mentally, emotionally, and physically I am ready and I don't need to burden and exhaust myself. And I do believe when I look back on this all I will be thankful I took only what I needed. 
And then there's times when you just want to leave all the gear at home and just head up the mountain with the company of a best friend.  Adventuring with Jess as she & I both anticipate our own new adventures in life. 

Seize every day as an adventure and your spirit 
will soar when you discover the wonderful 
surprises life has to offer


Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Cards We're Dealt

I woke up this morning singing "you gotta know when to hold them... know when to fold them.." Somehow it's appropriate for where I have found myself as of late. Kind of cheesy but bear with me.. 

Back in February I received an email telling me the courses I was currently enrolled in for grad school were not going to count towards my degree … huh? How could that be? But after some email exchanging it was confirmed that I had enrolled in two classes that specifically were not considered for the program I'm in. What to do? These courses were on-line classes, which if you've ever taken a class online you know they demand more time then in-seat courses. The irony of it all was it was the first time in my grad school career I was really enjoying my classes and I was really putting in a solid effort. The horrific part was that my graduation date was postponed and I was out a lot of money. Again what to do? My first reaction was to finish the courses - push through since I had finished seven of the ten weeks they involved. At the same time, which may come as a surprise to you, I was really overbooked with work. No one ever told me that starting a business was like having a child - it demands 100% of your time and energy. So between work and school I was pulling 85+ hour work weeks and trying to squeeze in the little bit of outdoor friend time that I could. I had a climbing trip planned to Canada at the end of February so if I stayed in the classes I would be writing my finals in Canada. I tried that once, taking finals on vacation, last year when I went to Mexico & California in November. When I look back at those two weeks all I can think is what an awful experience that was. I'm not suggesting that ice climbing is more important then my studies - although it's much more enjoyable - but I realized sometimes you just need to know when to walk away or in this case run. And so I did.

I think its important to hold true to values, standards, and draw lines of what you believe is right and wrong for yourself. If I've learned anything in my short life it is that if I allow myself to do so, I will take life way to seriously. And I will leave this earth a very tired, grumpy old woman. Life isn't all fun and games, but it isn't all work and stress either. When I was in Canada there was a day when Cheryl was just very tired and the ice wasn't so great, and so I asked her what she was thinking.. and she answered, "I'm asking myself what's my motivation right now?" Why am I doing what I'm doing? Not that every decision or action we make should bring us happiness, but some things just aren't worth comprising yourself or your peace of mind over. It's like when I hear women planning their weddings and they're just stressed over the details and the work of it. I can't understand why you would then keep on planning your miserable wedding.. it's not worth the anxiety. And in my case with school and work and the idea of vacation I realized that my motivation to complete the courses was because I was scared of failure. My motivation was to please others, to respond the way everyone would expect me to respond, and to comprise my own sanity.. In this case I knew I had to run. I was about to turn my vacation into a miserable experience.  I don't regret dropping the courses and I'm hoping by the Grace of God I can get my money back. But the decision I made allowed for me to have an opportunity that brought me the upmost joy. I spent 10 days in the Canadian Rockies with my amazing mentor and friend Cheryl. 

Relationships can be like that too. Friends, family, significant others - "what's my motivation.. why am I doing what I'm doing?" More often then not it has been to please the other. Sometimes that's a good thing - a great thing - but not always. And it's been a tough lesson for me to learn. I remember realizing after Christopher died that I had been spending my college career working so hard to:
1. Earn respect and prove myself to my department, my colleagues, and my employers 
2. To be the opposite of Christopher who couldn't succeed in school and work

I really have hurt myself with the motivation of another's happiness. In the past few years I've learned however that sometimes you need to hold on to the cards, and people, in your life even through the challenges because it's what grows you as a person. And sometimes you just need to cut your losses and walk away. Not to worry about the "what-ifs" or feeling like you need to hold on with the fear they'll be the only ones to come into your hands.  Let these lessons prepare you for when new relationships do begin- kind of like playing cards. You know what works and what doesn't. There's no need to hold tightly when you know it's a loss. And sometimes you find yourself given a hand that has potential and it's worth at least seeing through. For me, that grey area is a hard spot to be in.  I'm so afraid of failure or disappointing myself, or the other, that my reaction is often to run. Meagan spoke some truth to me the other night however when she said "Anne you're not the girl you use to be. You wouldn't let yourself fall into the old tendencies you use to." Hmm.. kind of like when I went to Canada over working. Yes when I was 20 I would've stayed, canceled my vacation, and worked. But not this time. 

I'm thankful for the hands I've been dealt in the past - the ones I've kept and the ones I've walked away from. And I know throughout life I'll be given more that I'll need to make the decision to keep or discard. But at the end of it all it has to come down to what's your motivation - what do you value - what's the result of your decision. For me it's about always pursuing peace with the journey I'm on, not always running but not always holding on either. 

So whether its work, relationships, school - uncertainties will continue to pop up, and you will have to decide what's the worth of it to you. And in each a decision will be made to hold, fold, walk away, or run.  But remain true to yourself. Think of what your motivation is, and don't regret when you finally make the decision. I don't believe in an easy road out - I think every decision comes with some kind of doubt and/or sorrow. But that's just the beauty of life - we're able to keep moving forward and if we have faith we will be given all that we need. And we will have peace when we're done. 

Speaking of peace..  

“Take pride in how far you've come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don't forget to enjoy the journey"


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Eudaimonia - The Result of Living a Virtuous Life

As if it was something new to report, life is extremely busy - but for all the right reasons. As 2014 rolled around I was trying to wrap up old projects and prepare for new projects. My life in the past year has gone from waking up most days of the week thinking.. "what should I do today to pass the time?" to waking up with an inbox full of work emails and meeting emails and new adventure emails, an office space calling to me with nine drives just waiting to be fired up so they can spit out hours of video footage, and running around in my little SUV bouncing from shoot to meeting to class to socializing to climbing. How does she do it? Honestly, I really have no idea. I have a thought to actually count my work hours, climbing hours, and sleeping hours but I think I'd rather just pretend like I'm a balanced person ;) 

I ended 2013 at home with my family and my friends. The trip was extremely restful, refreshing, and enjoyable. There is something so special about having a history with someone. The ability to connect after many months.. and even years... have gone by and still have a deep rooted love with that other is a tremendous gift. I moved to Colorado without much of a plan.. and in the past five years so much has evolved it's hard to really grasp where I'm at and what I'm actually doing - let alone figure out where I'm going. But in the midst of all of it, I found my constant in my life are the relationships I've formed along the way.  They've seen me through a lot, and know me inside and out.. and even though we've all changed in our own way, our relationship hasn't. That's really precious and I'm really grateful. 

I didn't make any new year resolutions but I do think it's important to set new goals or intentions  in your life to strive for. And this year I want to work on being better at chilling out and just being fine with what each day gives. "Do not be anxious, but instead pray about everything, and give thanks to God for all he has provided" It's true, I'm well taken care of. He's given me a family in Pennsylvania, and now a family in Colorado. I tend to really worry about what is next.. who will be in my life.. who is going to leave my life.. where my next job opportunity or climbing opportunity will come from (or will it come at all?!) But if history shows me anything it's that I'm never without.   So this year I'm striving to remember that and to be happy with that - to celebrate my life and my relationships daily.  And to be ok with waiting for the next opportunity, but still continually moving in the directions I feel called. 

In business, adventure, and love I have met the most amazing people and continue to do so. And through it all the history I've made with others remains - thankfully! For Christmas my mother gave me this little bag that said "see the world, but come home for love" It's true. I am going to see the world, and the best part of these journeys will be the people I meet along the way and the new relationships I have the chance to form, but nothing compares to the home I've found in PA and in CO. 

Thankful for all the love and support throughout these few short years, and thank you for all the encouragement to keep on going. I know this is where I'm suppose to be, and today I just feel so energized to be on the path I'm on - even if its long and unclear of the destination - if you know me, I'm all about the heinous approaches ;) 

I posted this on FB, but thought I'd share it again - It was an excerpt from some reading I had to do for a grad course in building partnerships and businesses - I thought it was good and resonated well with my own intention to start a company and pursue production. 

All human beings desire happiness. For Aristotle, “Happiness” or eudaimonia is the result of living a virtuous life. This “happiness” could also be described as fulfillment and flourishing (success). Acting virtuous means doing things well or acting according to reason excellently used. But happiness is not a purely individual matter, for it can only be realized within a network of relations with others. We are social animals and we need one another in order to reach our perfection as human beings. So the notions of virtue and eudaimonia are nested in a yet a wider context of society or community. Virtue implies a social context. Virtues by definitions place one in a relationship with others. In such a framework there is no distinction between self-interest and social mindedness. Acting virtuously takes on to respect others in the community while at the same time perfecting oneself and living a meaningful existence. In this model the important point is that doing one ought or striving to be virtuous is not counter but conductive to the good life. Fulfilling one’s responsibilities helps one to become the sort of person one wants to become, leads one to respect others, and fulfills and gives meaning to the actor.

Me and my grandmother hanging out !