The Real Thing

While my trip to Salt Lake City was a hilarious amount of fun, my friends are also very good at asking important questions too.  In the course of getting to know each other, Sarah asked me-

“What are you looking for out there (when you go adventuring)?”

To be clear, Sarah has spent more time off the beaten path having her own adventures, but this is a question worth asking between climbing partners.  Reading back through some email correspondence, I felt like this was supposed to show up here.  Usually New Years is somewhat of a “high holiday” for me- a time for reflection, and prioritization- but my NYE got eaten by the International Date Line and my reflections have been foggy from jetlag.  Maybe this is just what I’m going to be looking for in 2013.

Simply put, I am looking for the real thing.

“Peace is who we are when we are completely honest.” (Ralph Marston)

I’ve only just recently started to describe it as “the real thing”. The real thing is honest. Honesty is peace.  More that simply saying that what I am looking for is peace- describing it as the real thing reminds me of how to get there- it makes the search less illusive. Credit where due, the term comes from here.

The real thing happens when we have the right combination of risk, friendship, beauty, simplicity, authenticity, and probably a few other things I can’t name so easily.  Sometimes, the real thing is enjoying dinner with new friends, and sometimes it’s a multi-day, runout, alpine scarefest.  You know it’s the real thing when you realize that you don’t have to hide anything.  When you can’t hide anything.  When you’re scared, and you wish you could pretend, but you remember that everything works better when you don’t.  Hard climbing tends to be the real thing because it demands our complete attention- we can’t fake training we haven’t done or technique we haven’t learned.  I’m pretty sure the real thing happens just as much in our day to day lives as it does when we are climbing, it’s just easier to ignore.

I am much more comfortable getting to know people with my faults on display than simply the things I’m proud of.  When I’m not trained up.  When I’m not shrending hard.  When I feel my worst.  Because honestly, we are all only at our best for a fraction of the time.  I’m looking for the cleanest, simplest, most authentic version of myself.  I’m looking to spend time with people who are as optimistic, grateful, enthusiastic, creative, and engaged as I am (or more so).  I believe that “you become who you hang around. (MFT)” and I’m looking to build friendships in which I would never say something about someone that I could not say to them.  To make friends that won’t settle for my bullshit, and who are as excited about next week’s version of myself as I am.

I am looking to share experiences with people that don’t leave me wondering if they felt the same way, because how they felt will be clear in their eyes- or they will feel compelled to speak up.  I hope that I can be more honest with each successive person I meet- and learn to be more honest with myself along the way.  Adventuring outside inspires the most honesty, and therefore I believe it represents my path to peace.

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