I’m swinging from the ceiling over the heads of my classmates. I fell off the rock again but I’m laughing. I leave the class smiling and gritty. It’s a dirty sport, sweat and chalk under the fingernails, grime from rented shoes. But I can’t wipe the smile off my face. Maybe I’m not the nerd who gets picked last, I could get into this.

I’ve been rock-climbing again. It’s so “not me” and that’s why I love it. I was never any good at sport. I cried when I had to play netball, I never understood the rules, I was a head shorter than all the other kids. I just wanted to get back to my book.

Challenging your sense of identity is a good thing. It makes you feel bigger. The sort of bigger where your energy and your light takes up more space in a room.

Try new things

Again and again, I have felt joy trying new things. If I’m learning something new, I’m alive.

What about you? Does that work for you? What new thing could you learn? If you don’t have time for a class, could you learn something online?

Challenge your sense of self

Another thing on my list is hip hop. Again, it’s so “not me”. And again, that’s what appeals to me. I look more like a librarian than a cool chick. Those things obviously aren’t mutually exclusive but you get the picture. I’ve danced salsa for years but hip hop would be different.

What “not you” thing would you love to try?

Challenge yourself

What scary thing could you do imperfectly? For me, rock-climbing was super-scary when I started. I was the worst in class. I was scared of heights. I have skinny arms and I’m short. I was sure I was the only one who was scared.

But it turns out I wasn’t the only one who was scared. Last week one of my classmates shared her internal thoughts about her first climb. It cracked me up. They were just like mine. Exactly. But she is an exercise specialist who advises elite athletes. I’m the nerd with glasses. Not so different, it turns out.

Who are you? Who could you be?

I may be a little bookworm but I could also be a middle-aged woman who climbs for fun and sport. Maybe I could even take up a real sport, with teams and a ball. I’d have to learn to catch and throw first. One step at a time.

The point is that rock-climbing shows me I don’t have to stick to my limited stories quite so rigidly. I could be sporty and bookish. I could be fit and middle-aged.

What crazy thing would you like to try?

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