Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reflections of an Old Man

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.

3 comments:

alphaomega said...

No one's ever too old. I'm 30 and I just started climbing. I know a 66 year old who's been climbing for 40+ years and he's still doing Alpine stuff :-) By the way I was surfing 8a.nu, that's how I found your site. Blogger won't let me input my own site, which is www.wanderlustig.com/blog.

El Samet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
El Samet said...

Nice blog post, Taylor. I look at this way: the older I get and the more I hurt, the better Xbox technology gets at the same time. It's a win-win proposition and one that fills each new day of aching fingers and creaky tendons with hope!

Half-kidding. Climbing is a nice sport to age into -- I agree with you 100 percent! What might change power-wise or in terms of recovery time, is made up for by deeper levels of wisdom and patience, and an appreciation of just how lucky we are to live in a time when we can go climb rocks for run.

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