The Iron beams were shaking in the wind as I balanced above a 40ft drop with a harsh, gravel littered, concrete landing.
I remember my heart racing, my palms sweating, and my legs quaking as I scaled up the side of an abandoned warehouse. My mother would have murdered me if she knew I snuck out my bedroom window to do this foolish stunt.
We were on our way to the very top of this warehouse to bask in the glimmering lights of downtown Abilene…in all its glory.
I was running with a crew full of free individuals, doing whatever the fuck we wanted to do. On this particular night, we wanted to climb. Later I would figure out that this stupidly courageous act is somewhat of a sport. And that sport actually has a name…. buildering…. we were buildering.
I remember the sheer joy I felt as my fingers finally grasped the top row of rigid bricks. I pulled myself up to the roof and peered back down to my motley crew. One by one, They were on their way up.
I started shouting words of encouragement as they carefully clawed further from the floor. Everyone made it to the roof. Thank God for that because it truly was risky and foolish. No protection. No crash mat…No room for error.
The mere thrill, excitement, and sense of achievement was overwhelming. We patted each other on the back as we continued to scale up the next few levels. None of the remaining climbs were nearly as challenging or as deadly as that first climb.
Next thing I knew, I was latched to a ladder on the side of a towering chimney/silo. Gazing at my small cities downtown lights. We were full of life in that moment. Young and dumb, but full of life.
I was born with this sense of adventure and this rebellious personality. This is the epitome of the character that God instilled within me. But I blame the creek in my backyard for enabling that character.
For hours I would disappear in that thick and thorny vegetation. Only to reemerge sporting numerous cuts, bruises, and a thick coat of dirt.
My imagination would run wild, there, in elm creek. I was a chief, a war hero, maybe a wizard. Ha, In that creek, I was whatever I wanted to be. In that creek I was truly free. Thats where I developed such a genuine love for nature, and an intense addiction for adventure.
Thank God my parents allowed me to go on my little expeditions. It really did build me into the person I am now. It gave me a sense of independence. It made me courageous and bold enough to climb that warehouse. It allowed me to grow thick skin. It made me eager to take on any challenge. Thank God my parents weren’t overly protective, otherwise I may have turned out to be a sheltered coward. Be sure to let your children throw spears and play with fire.
I no longer dive into creeks. Instead, I tackle mountains. It wasn’t until I enrolled in a rock climbing class my senior year of college that I realized climbing and exploring has always been a part of my life. I love it. From the trees, during my innocent times in the creek, to the buildings, during my rebellious adolescents. I love it, passionately.
Climbing will continue to give me beautiful views and conquerable challenges. It will take me across the world and provide truly unbelievable experiences. I have already met some amazing and beautiful people through the sport. I feel like I learn a new life lesson every time I climb. Its simply priceless.
Go out and be adventurous, and raise your children to be the same.
There Is No Certainty, Only Adventure.
I hope this inspires you to look into your own past. Why are you the way you are? What happened that built you to be who you are now? How did your family raise you and how did you respond to that upbringing? Are you an independent person? Why?
I could write a lot more questions like these but I think you’re the most suitable interrogator as you reflect on your own past.