Don’t Tell Me I’m Busy

As you may recall from “Don’t Tell Me You’re Busy,” time is hard. But it’s not just about how you want to spend your time, it’s about how others want you to spend your time.

I can’t tell you how many times my parents, when they saw how swamped I was with work, told me I “needed to find something else.” I can’t tell you how many times people would tell me to “just skip the gym.” I can’t tell you how many times people told me, “well it’s not like you get paid or are on a team for it, so you’re not obligated to anything.”

Climbing isn’t a free timer filler; it’s not something you mess around with in your spare moments, and it’s not something that you just dabble in. In reality, climbing is a lifestyle. It becomes just as necessary as eating, breathing, schoolwork, jobs, meetings, district games, or anything else. From the outside, however, it just seems unnecessary. Like it’s just an extra. And that’s where the flaw is in how we deem importance as a society.

So if you had to cut something out of your life, it would be climbing, right? I mean, it’s not like you need to climb.

Because the joy it brings you doesn’t matter, its intriguing challenges don’t matter, the fitness it imposes upon you doesn’t matter, the strong interpersonal bonds it facilitates don’t matter, and the drastic change in atmosphere it provides doesn’t matter. Because it doesn’t give you money, it doesn’t give you a scholarship, and it doesn’t give you a prize at the end.

Chances are, most of us will never have nor desire a professional climbing career. But, hear this: it doesn’t make climbing any less important for us. Who decided on the finite list of things that can count as obligations? Why do others’ values need to determine our own?

I have committed to climbing. As consequence, I have been home considerably less, missed social events, not rested for my games and meets, acquired permanent-looking calluses, and developed an even more masculine figure than I already had. As consequence, I’ve made better friends than I thought were possible, became stronger than I could have dreamed, experienced joy that is hard to recreate, learned to think in new, creative ways, and seen some truly beautiful things with a perspective I could have never had otherwise.

As a follow-up question to last week’s question by Andrew Joyner, I ask you the following:

Is climbing important?

High-Clip (Co-writer)

42 Replies to “Don’t Tell Me I’m Busy”

  1. Wise thoughts. Americans seem to have a love affair with numbers. If they demonstrate “value,” then there’s value. And, if not… But, life is more complex than that, thank God! So, climb all you want! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. With a math major, I too have an affinity for numbers…but yes it’s how you define their value. Indeed, thankfully life is more than that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What we love and inspires our passion should be central to our lives. It’s no sacrifice to be home less, miss social events, etc. for that which is our raison d’être.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I had a friend who insisted that money is the measure of worth, not just economic worth but intrinsic worth. Since he got paid a lot more than I, he was intrinsically more valuable as a human being. Also, many of the things which brought/bring me joy were therefore worthless. I felt sad for him. I think I’ll go for a worthless bike ride now.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Great post! I can relate, though my passion is long-distance trail running, not climbing, but equally time-consuming. Your comment, that it (climbing, trail running, insert individual passion here) is a lifestyle is spot-on. We make it a priority because the benefits are so enormous and central to our well-being. It’s the other “stuff” in our lives that must make room, and that’s where one sees the friction because often that other “stuff” includes people who want our time and attention for their own (selfish?) reasons.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Climbing is vital!!! I have the same struggles. People don’t respect my climbing time as essential. I just tell them, “I’m not available,” and go climbing. I’ve decided that I don’t need to justify myself or my needs to anyone else. Other climbers understand. Non-climbers just don’t. So I don’t give them the option to object. You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone! Just tell them, “I’m not available.” If they persist, use the broken record approach, or say, “That’s private.” That usually shuts them down in time for you to get a good head start to the climbing gym or the crag! Great post!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Completely agree, well written 🙂
    I have other things that I like to do, as I’m not a climber, but they become a part of you and no longer ‘just a thing you do’.
    Keep on climbing! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The wonderful thing about your article is that it’s true for many things in life. Just swap climbing with anything that you enjoy but that isn’t necessarily seen as ‘a way to earn money’ (by most) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great article! Whenever you are passionate about something go for it! It does not matter what it is. I’m no climber and I will not start to climb in my late age BUT I’m sure you are somebody who people like to be around with. Lively, joyfull, passionate … maybe those who don’t get you are jealous?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You’ve exactly described how I feel about farming. People my age are slowing down – I’m in my sixties – but I have to make up for lost time, and it’s endlessly interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

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