I turned 31 on Wednesday. I am undeniably established in my thirties. Despite living another year, I don't feel any older, or different than I did when I was 21. In fact, I feel stronger than ever, and I intend to continue improving for many years. Unfortunately, the reality is my bald head, growing wrinkles, and general disregard for current fashion betray the fact that I am no longer young. Especially by Boulder standards. That said, I have started to cling to the idea that you are only as old as you feel. Thankfully my gymnastics background has conditioned my muscles and joints to support this notion- for now... I have noticed that my body isn't exactly what it was ten years ago. I have to stretch more often, my metabolism has slowed down, and my fingers feel a bit more fragile from time to time. This doesn't bother me too much- a little prevention and self awareness never hurt. In the last couple of years I have also experienced serious performance slumps. Some of these periods have caused me to consider whether I had reached my peak and was doomed to plateau or get worse. Thankfully, I have always been able to snap out of it by changing my training, or finding some new motivation.
So along with trying to push my physical limits, I will also explore the notion that climbing, like age, is all about your mind set. A denial to give up and grow old. A commitment to improve, learn, adapt, remain curious, and find joy in the new and uncertain. An opportunity to travel, play in the dirt, be humbled, and remain young at heart. I will look to older climbers like Ben Moon, Fred Nicole, J.B. Tribout, and Yuji Hirayama to show me that age doesn't determine what you can accomplish. And when my body finally falls apart, I can proudly say that I never took a moment for granted.