I haven't posted anything in a good while,several months in fact.It's not that I've had nothing to say;I've got a right mouth on me and a brain full of opinions,which I usually inflict on anyone who'll listen.It's not that I haven't been battering my body and my ego with training and climbing,cos I have.It's just that something kinda got in the way.A real kick up the arse called real life.
I'll cut straight to it here,cos for reasons that should become abundantly clear,I figure life's too short to procrastinate and fuck around dodging the point.My old man's suffered from depression,off and on,for a few years now,brought on by his failing body,increasing years and general propensity for being a cynical old fucker.He used to be as fit as a flea,hiking 20-odd miles in the hills every other day,a mad keen gardener,and a man with a typically Northern liking for the odd pint or six.For the first few bouts,we were on top of it a bit,and aside from a short voluntary spell in hospital,the old dog seemed ok.Yeah,so he was struggling with a fucked back,melanoma,and a wrecked stomach,but he was tough,"in my day,we 'ad to work 40 hours a day at t'mill,wi rickets,consumption AND polio." Made out he was fine,you know?We knew he wasn't tip top,but out of pride,stubbornness and outright hard faced Lancastrian stupidity,he really didn't give too much away.Three months ago,he tried to overdose,and to be fair,the old goat gave it a pretty good go.He ended up in intensive care,then the mental health unit,where he broke his hip badly,and nearly didn't come through the op,then normal hospital again,and now back to the mental health unit.Suffice to say,he's not too psyched.And from what I can tell,he's just counting the hours,man.Simply doesn't wanna know anymore. And it's fucking hard.My mum's been in bits,but she's tough too.As for me...Well....I dunno how I'm dealing with it really,you do your best in these situations eh,you're there for people who need you,you crack on as best you can.This sort of shit happens to everyone,in one way or another. But not everyone climbs.I do,it's my life,off and on I've been at it for years,in one form or another.And suddenly,it seemed trivial,fuck all;a selfish ego driven pastime,irrelevant..I've felt a bit like that about climbing before,but usually cos of repeated failure on some bloc or other,or due to hitting a long training plateau or dip;nothing serious.This time was different.Perspective.The so-called "real life" of the title.And I simply wasn't sure what to do.So...I kept training,I kept climbing when I could;I grabbed it with both hands like it was important,like it meant something.Not just for the stability,the sheer normality of it,although that was there for sure.No.For the whole fucking package.The projects,the failures,those classic days out with good friends,the easy circuits,the highballs,the whole glorious craic of it all.Because it does mean something,fuck knows what,I can't just put it into words just like that.But it's keeping me going,giving me what i need to get by and be there for the family and friends.Climbing's fucking fantastic. My dad wouldn't want me to stop either,he's always said that.He thinks it's fucking bonkers,but I think he gets it.And I'm not stopping,might have to take my foot off the gas a bit,but hell...the projects are all close now,even that fucking thing in the Cave,and Lancaster Bomber up at the mighty Lad Stones.Life IS too short not to keep trying,not to keep training.This shit isn't trivial,it's not irrelevant.It's still real life,just a different bit;and it's no less valid for that. Next time,I promise I'll write a fun one,packed to the gills with vitriol,sarcasm,and even some bouldering.Oh,and the tale of Andy F,Vitruvian Man,and the wackest toe-hook beta I've ever seen.I might even have climbed something worthy myself,but don't hold your breath,cos no one can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like I can.Meantime,keep the fucking faith and thanks for reading.