2016 by the Numbers

It's that wonderfully strange time of year when I'm trying to look both backward and forward at the same time. What did I accomplish last year? What do I want to accomplish next year? How does what I've accomplished this year, influence what I want to accomplish next year?

I'm a sucker for hard data and hand-written notes, so I like to start by looking back at my old fashioned calendar and reviewing where I've been for the last 12 months. 2016 by the approximate numbers:

  • 51 days climbing (Doesn't include post-work weekday routes)
  • 20 days (and still counting!) skiing
  • 29 days camping

For me, those are the days that matter most, the ones spent outside, and my goal is to have as many of those as possible. Considering I have a full-time Mon-Fri 8-5 job, not the kind that will ever make me a wealthy person, and my longest vacation of the year didn't involve any climbing/camping/skiing days, those numbers don't seem too shabby to me. But I didn't add all this up so I could humble-brag about it. Besides, in Colorado, the land of extreme athletes and dedicated dirtbags, those numbers are hardly worth bragging about anyway.

However, seeing these numbers in front of me is a reminder of how much my priorities have shifted over the last few years, and how much room there still is to improve in certain aspects. By changing my perspective of what is "reasonable", specifically in regards to travel time, I've opened myself up to a plethora of new opportunities. Stay up a little later, or get up a little earlier, oftentimes it only takes a couple extra hours to open the door to a multitude of new adventures.

Looking at these numbers, I realize I've spent far more time outdoors this year than any other in my "adult" life. Far from feeling contented though, I find myself more motivated than ever to see an increase in that time. So here's to 2017, and continuing to make starry nights, warm campfires, snowy hills, and all the craggy places a priority.

Climbing in Red River Gorge

Thankful Thursday, vol. 2

“Siblings: children of the same parents, each of whom is perfectly normal until they get together.”

Sam Levenson

I honestly don't know if any of us pass for normal when we're apart either...

And whaddya know?! It's actually Thursday today!

It's cheesy and predictable, but today I guess I'm pretty thankful for my siblings. I'm sitting in Paris, eating decadent desserts and drinking cheap wine (cheap wine doesn't necessarily equal bad wine in this part of the country, another thing to be grateful for) with my brother and waiting for my sister to get out of class and join us. Life ain't too terrible. I'm grateful for the rest of my family too, but being in Paris with my siblings is a Thanksgiving that I am sure will stand out in my memories.

And my sister's boyfriend deserves an honorable mention as well, for graciously sharing his living space while we're visiting. 

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

Thankful Thursday, vol1

"Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out."
John Wooden

I know it's not Thursday, but it's my blog and I can do what I want. And if this, this, and this are to be believed, practicing some gratitude is a pretty good idea for any day of the week.

I'm thankful for the people who put up with me when I am far less than my best. The ones who don't mind changing plans at the last minute when I suddenly realize I can't achieve the original goal. The ones who push me through the motions when I am sad and wouldn't bother to do it on my own. The ones who forgive me for the angry voice that is usually angry at myself, but sometimes gets misdirected. The ones who hand me ibuprofen and coffee and breakfast and break down most of camp without my help because I had one too many beers the night before. The ones who patiently belay while I growl at cruxes that may or may not actually exist on days when I can't seem to figure out how my hands and feet work. The ones who quietly listen to my ranty frustrations about things I could change, and also the ones I can't. 

If you are anything like me, you have a small circle of some of the best people in your life who, unfortunately, are the ones most frequently subjected to the worst side of you. Today, I'm extremely grateful for those people, the ones who see my worst and remain convinced that it is outweighed by my best, even on the days that I don't necessarily believe that myself. 

Keep the Camera, Thief

NOBODY likes a thief.

Originally, I had planned to celebrate the official arrival of fall with a fun "summer highlights" post. You know, a cheerful #throwbackthursday type thing with some pretty pictures and a fist pump at the end to show how I excited I am about what's coming up next. 

But I'm not really in the mood to write that anymore.

Because I'm kind of pissed.

Someone thought it was ok to let their self into my car and take one of my most valuable possessions - my camera. 

I hate you, thief.

And worse, I pity you.

I pity you because a thief is always alone.

Who do you trust? Who can you confide in? Who can you count on? 

If I had to guess the answers to those questions, I'd say no one. Because most people will agree that stealing from others is wrong. Which means you can't trust those people. They might judge you if they knew what you did. Nobody wants to help a thief. And that's the best case scenario. On the other end of the spectrum, they might turn you into the authorities and force you to face the consequences of your wrongdoings. And let's be real, the kind of person who's sneaking around at night taking things that don't belong to them is not the kind of person who faces consequences with dignity. 

So where does that leave you? Chumming around with other like-minded thieves? A den of noble thieves might be a cute literary trope but it doesn't really work like that in real life, does it? You may find yourself in the company of other thieves or similarly disdained scum, but it's not because you've "got each other's backs, bro," despite whatever heartwarming crime drama you've been watching on tv lately would have you believe. Because you're all alike enough to know that it's only a matter of time before you're holding onto or standing in the way of something they want more than your sweaty high fives and they'll stab you in the back, figuratively or literally, to get their hands on it. 

Sounds pretty fucking sad and lonely.

So you know what, go ahead. Keep my camera. I hope you enjoy whatever adrenaline rush you get from underselling it to some pawn shop or ignorant craigslister. 

Because I have a multitude of things in my life that are far more valuable than that camera, and I'll be damned if you can take them from me.

I have people in my life that I can trust. That I can confide in. That I can turn to when I need help. People I can count on to be there when I need them most. People in my life that won't steal the things I've worked hard for. People that will laugh and cry with me. People that will forgive me when I am less than my best. People that will encourage me to be better than my best. People that are worth having in my life.

And I try to be someone worth having in theirs in return. 

But you don't know anything about that, do you, thief? Because all of those things involve something that no thief has - respect. For others or him/herself.

So, as I was saying, enjoy sitting alone with your spoils, looking for the next shady shortcut to take. (Hint: they all lead to dead ends.) I'm done giving a fuck about you. I'm going to take a moment to be grateful for all of the wonderful things (ie people) in my life, and then I'll find some way to (lawfully) acquire a new camera. After all, it's hard to be a photographer without a camera.