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Time to think.

Sara Lingafelter
Sara Lingafelter
3 min read

With the snow still blanketing my little corner of the world, and my trusty Jetta sidelined until the weather clears, I’ve got lots of time to think about and reflect on the last year. Posts like this get filed under “The climbing life,” but really, this is likely to be even less about climbing than even most of those.

I’ve had some pretty big life changes this year, although I’ve moved so quickly through it all, with so much on my plate, that I haven’t had much time to reflect. A very long term relationship had a major transition; I moved to my own place, in another part of town; took a new job; and have made many new friends (and connected differently with old friends). As with all big life changes, it hasn’t been smooth. It’s been the kind of upset you’d expect of that many transitions in that short a time, but even so, I’ve been blessed by having my chosen family of people surrounding me at all times… I’ve been living alone with a few short-term guests since the end of May, and I haven’t yet been lonely (until today, but that’s a fleeting experience I owe to being snowbound that I should be savoring, and will plan to savor more enthusiastically tomorrow when I have a repeat of today).

I’m still working two jobs, which presents certain difficulties… I hope, in 2009, to find a way to work one job and do it well, instead of having to divide myself to the degree I have this year. I also am still climbing a lot, and much of my planning and decisionmaking revolves around being able to climb a lot. I have made great climbing friends all across the U.S. this year, after finding myself, once, with my gear for a long weekend in my car and nobody to climb with. That was mid-May, and I’d packed for an expected trip and set out, then my partners one by one became unavailable. I decided to go anyway. I changed destinations, and met up with some folks from my area who became fast friends, and we had a great get-to-know-you-trip. After that, I started talking with climbers everywhere I went… gear shops, at the crag, at the gym… even on Twitter. My friends tease me about my tendency to introduce myself to everyone I run into that might, just might be a climber… and about their impression that my goal is to know the name of every climber between here and Red Rock, Nevada. But unless you’re into soloing or solo bouldering, climbing is a group activity, and I derive comfort from knowing that with a little bit of advance planning and a lot of sense of adventure, I now have a friend of a friend pretty much anywhere I’d want to go, to meet up with at the crag. I’ve also been to places I’d only seen in magazines… my summer Tuolumne and Tahoe trip is a notable example.

My climbing has advanced, although I still have much room to grow. I’m still, as I always have been, weakest in the mental aspects of climbing. Although, even though leading is a constant struggle with fear for me, I’m enjoying myself climbing like I didn’t before this year. Don’t get me wrong… I loved climbing the minute I tried it, and haven’t looked back sense. But, before this year, I didn’t have the kind of self-possessed strength and enjoyment that I have now. Now, I feel a certain sense of freedom climbing that I didn’t feel before. I still rely very heavily on my climbing partners — they are my extended family in the gym, outside at the crag, and in my life outside of climbing. But, I’m more self-contained, I feel more complete in myself than I used to be.

Plans for 2009… I’m hoping to get down to Red Rock early in the year… I’ve been trying since earlier this month, but first work, then weather didn’t cooperate. I’d really like to spend a substantial amount of time in Squamish this year, since the last two years I’ve hardly gotten to touch it, and I think Squamish is the place for me to get my gear-legs for traditional leading. I’ll hope to stay uninjured, and to keep making new friends and seeing new places, and having new adventures. I’m especially looking forward to an anticipated June trip to Colorado for a family wedding and some time with all of my Colorado climbing friends. I don’t do New Years Resolutions, I try to just live the best life I can, every day. But I do hope to climb hard, stay strong, have fun, and continue living this full, wonderful life that I’ve been blessed with.

As you think about 2009 and beyond, what do you hope for yourself? Chime in, with your own comments, below. Thank you for reading, and thank you for being part of my extended family of climbing friends. I really, truly, don’t know what I’d do without you.

Sara Lingafelter

Sara (Grace) Lingafelter takes steps forward and backward toward a right-sized life on a daily basis.