It had been a rough night and It was definitely making the days objective seem like a bad idea. This was the start of my birthday challenge. We had rolled into the campground after 11 the night before, tired from the drive we threw our tents on the first available platform after checking in. The first spot probably was not the best idea as we quickly learned when our newly adopted neighbors for the weekend rolled in yelling, Lets do shot. I looked at Rich but we were both to tired to move to a new spot. Our neighbors made it hard to sleep as they carried on til 2, then an owl howled above our spot for a few hours then a nearby rooster beckoned the morning, which was finally followed by near by dogs barking for a solid 2 hours. So after such a restful night we were off climb as many boulders as years I had been alive.
It took a lot of work and traveling to a few locations but on that long day I did finally complete my birthday challenge. Most people spent their birthdays indulging themselves, I tend to spend mine challenging myself. Doing things that are hard and making sure that the possibility of failure is there. I really wanted to test myself. In fact the next day we ran into my friend Clinton climbing and Summersville Lake and he said I just looked spent, which I kind of was after all the effort of the day prior. But it was worth it.
I first got turned on to the Idea of the birthday challenge by a series of youtube videos, the first was 35 , the other was a series done on Epic TV. Both of them focus on climbing with a number relevant to your age, and I liked that. These challenges are not easy when you are young and become even harder as you age, and require you to grow as a person.
However I don’t think your challenge needs to be solely focused on volume climbing. Your birthday challenge is entirely up to you. Find something that will test your skills, ability, endurance, courage. Find out what make you who you are at the age you are coming to. This is a good point to take a self assessment.
I also have a secondary birthday challenge I’d like to encourage everyone to take part in. It stems around an article my friend shared with me that argued that time seems to go faster as we get older because less of life is memorable. To me that was a bit disheartening, I want to live a life worth remembering. So every year as my birthday approaches I make an effort to write out my top memories. Writing out as many as years that I have lived. Furthermore if those memories involved someone letting them know that they were part of some of the best moments of the last year and so that they can hold on to those memories as well.
I encourage you all to build your own birthday challenges, and let me know what you end up doing.