By: Lexi Hall
Perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. What does it mean to persevere to you? To me this word, like many other words, means something unique to each individual. There are countless outdoor activities that aid us in learning how to push forward and stay dedicated to what we are a part of. One of the major outdoor recreation activities that does this for me is rock climbing. Each time I step up to to the wall, I peer up to the 50-foot beast, envisioning myself reaching the anchor bolts at the top of the route. As I observe the path ahead of me, I imagine how I would maneuver my body to reach the top. Before I even get on the wall, I tell myself, “You can do this.” Now, I would not say that this kind of visualization is all you need to achieve your goals but using visualization as your foundation does help you to see that success for yourself and make you recognize your own potential before you even begin your journey.
The minute I place my hands and feet on the rock formation, I go from visualizing to doing. While the beginning of the route may seem to be going as planned, I approach the crux of the route. This is the most difficult part of the trek up the wall. When you approach this specific challenge, you never know how things might play out. Some routes have multiple hurdles that can surprise you, making you pause and reevaluate what move to make next. When I arrive to my toughest obstacle of the route, I ask for my partner to give me a take, simply allowing me to sit back into my harness and truly assess the situation I am in. How did I not see this at the bottom? Why is this so challenging? Don’t I know how to get through this? These kinds of questions race through my mind as I ponder my path. Some may tell their belayer to lower them after several failed attempts but my stubbornness makes me just want to tackle it even more. For me, and so many others, there is no surrendering to the crux. Often times you can feel the intensity of the route as people yell and even swear their way up to the top.
With every inch of my muscles burning with pain and self doubt creeping into my mind, I remember what I told myself when I began this journey, “You can do this.” Suddenly a rush of determination comes over my body. Some how, some way, I forget about the pain I am in and it aids me in clearly seeing holds that enable me to get past the crux. As I look up at the remaining 20-foot I have left, I remember what I just accomplished and trust that I can do what lies ahead of me. The sweat on my back and the blisters on my hands remind me of what I’ve achieved thus far. Just as I envisioned before the climb, my right hand finally reaches that bolt, slapping it with nothing but pure joy and relief. As I peer down to my belayer, I see where I once was and see where I am now. All of the challenges along the way were worth it because it made me stronger as a climber and made me truly fight for the success I achieved.
Each of us has our own route in life and we have the freedom to choose that route for ourselves. Almost every day we are faced with challenges and obstacles that could potentially delay our overall success. While it is easy to envision our success in the long view, all of us have learned that going from point A to point B is not always a linear process, but rather a zigzagging path full of twists and turns. When you reach the crux of your life’s journey, do not allow it to defeat you and your inner strength. You can do this. Never forget the place you started from and remember that you are stronger and wiser with each challenge you get through.