When I was younger my father would drive my brother and me to the closest rock climbing gym to San Antonio, an hour and fifteen minutes away in Austin. In 2014, for the first time in fifteen years, and with a dear friend by my side, I put on the climbing shoes and harness and found myself learning an important lesson that I have since applied to the my life and experiences off the rocks and outside the gym: you are never stuck, even when it feels like it.
I found myself confronted with this thought many times at the beginning; when my grip didn’t feel strong enough, or I didn’t see the next feasible move. I would freeze, but then realize I had two options: move forward or let go, and that either way I would be fine, and supported, and so I would take a deep breath and propel myself up. Every time, I made it to the top, and every time, I felt more and more empowered.
2014 presented some big challenges, some that at times left me feeling momentarily defeated, but rock climbing inspired me to never tell myself “I can’t”; it taught me to try, and to find the strength through that effort.
I asked some of the Alima staffers what challenged and inspired them this past year to help propel them through 2015. Here’s what they had to say:
Sara F.: My sister. My younger sister recently got divorced, and while she is now learning to support herself entirely on her own while going to school and maintaining a job, she stays infectiously positive throughout everything. She’s owning herself, and gives me the strength in my own life to see that not only can she endure anything, but thrives while doing so.
Alyson: Finding swimming holes with my “Aqua Posse”. This summer we explored the Umpqua River. These outdoors adventures with my friends invigorate me every summer and set the tone for the rest of the year.
Candice: It was a big year for me – I turned thirty and my father passed away, two monumental milestones that have caused me to reflect on who I am and all that encompasses. For the first time I am finding myself looking deeper, into myself and into the future, and while the unknown is unsettling it is also incredibly empowering.
Charlene: My friends, and the strength they have given me to overcome any obstacle.
Ashlee: My niece and nephew, who constantly remind me to embrace the youthful imagination and playfulness we so often forget thrive in each of us.
Kat: Exploring the outdoors, forcing me to recognizing the beauty surrounding us and truly appreciating it.