Over the years I've had a few people come and go and make impressions on my life. During my more haphazard early college years i did alot of soul and bottle searching. If i wasn't drinking i was probably hung over, i sure as hell wasn't in lectures. Over the coming months i started rock climbing more and more, and eventually managed to go on a trip to the French Alps and bag my first few big peaks. Our first trip was slow, cumbersome, and i ended going home early with a screwed up knee and some ideas. Over the next few years i managed several more trips to the Alps, summer and winter. A few to Scotland and then culminating with a 6month trip to climb and mountain bike in Canada. During this time two books came to me. The first, Extreme Alpinisim, was a revelation into the idea of 'light is right' and 'measured danger', a kind of punk rock attitude to big mountain climbing that still resounds with me today. The second, Kiss or Kill: Confessions of a Serial Climber, struck me deeper. A collection of Marks writings from several sources, and a pure insight into another mind that in some way paralleled some of the thoughts going through mine. Over the past few years the books have gathered dust on my shelves. Occasionally being rubbed clean as i pass the climbing topo's that dominate one shelf.
A while back I re-watched The 300 and remembered that the gym Mark had set up was involved in the training. A quick Google later and i was at the Gym Jones site. A click on the knowledge tab and i was back in a place i had not been in a long time. Introspection is not something i do well. I have always tried to portray myself in a manner that is open, happy, and comfortable where i am. Of late this face has been coming down. A PhD is a place that forces me to think internally and it's been a hard process. Riding a bike, running , or swimming alone is the key. Being solo for a long period gives me that time to think, gives me a place to be, gives me a time to break it all down. I've come to the conclusion that things need to change. Change is good, change re-enforces what is good in our lives, and takes what is not and discards it. Once again i found explanation in a mentor long forgotten:
You have to be willing to bite off more than you can chew, to overdose, and to fail. If you won't risk the answer you won't ask the question. If you lack the will to ask then consciousness will not unite with muscle and bone. I criticize such a lack of will (especially in myself) and ask, "What's the worst that can happen?" The fearful part of me replies, "I may fall short of my expectations. I may not be who I pretend to others. My perception of self may be proven wrong, very wrong." The confident part of me says, "So what ... only after breaking myself apart may rebuilding begin." So go ahead, break stuff. Break yourself on the once-hard edges of yourself. And recycle the debris into the foundation of your future.
Mark Twight; Remake Remodel