I’ve always climbed for freedom. Trying to start climbing for security now feels somehow…wrong. So, I’m going to go ahead and let go of that approach and not do that.
I always imagined that life after Project365 would take shape naturally–that someone would just call me up and offer me a way to support myself through more climbing projects. Or perhaps if that was not to be, then Netflix would ask to buy distribution rights and I would be able to stop the incessant emailing and haggling over screening fees, and having to sell enough tee shirts to pay for gas and food to get back home where I start the process over again.
Did I mention that I’m going to be a father this spring? Everyone keeps giving me pitying admonishment to prepare me for my life imploding into debt, sleeplessness, and conventional blah-dom. “But it’s ok” they assure me, “It’s the most wonderful experience–you won’t even mind that it’s happening”. Ok so I’ll have some sedatives on my way to the gallows. Thanks for that…
Then I step back and think about it–I’ve always been broke but I somehow get by. Sleep? I’ve never had much use for it under the most ideal circumstances. And blah-dom? Well, that is a choice. A challenge–and one I am looking forward to taking on, because I do my best work with the deck stacked against me and if I’m listening to the well meaning looky-loos, all signs point to my hanging up my ropes and signing up for a monster.com account.
After screening in La Jolla and Carlsbad this weekend with many friends from Insulindependence in attendance, I was taken back to the origins of Project365.
I remembered the same sorts of admonishments and concerns, the same types of dire predictions and yet, at the end of each day, it came down to making choices to continue, even when it felt like there was no hope. There was no thought of success–or any real strict concept of what that success would entail, other than surviving the experience–a task that changed shape on a moment by moment basis.
Over the last year I have been thinking too much of how I can “try” to continue the success of Project365. I don’t like how that has made me feel about what I am doing. It feels like I am trying to plan my next steps in order to get approval from people and companies. This is the opposite of inspiration. It may be the way to build a business, but it seems like the surest way to dilute the strength of conviction. Why we climb is as (or more) important than what we climb.
Over this past weekend I have been realizing that risk and the possibility of failure is what I chose from the very start. That’s not a bad thing. Quite the opposite, it’s the best part of this whole game. It’s not good business to take on another climbing project that could fail totally. No one wants to put money into an expedition and hear that the rock was too loose or that the weather was too bad to summit. From the sidelines, the only thing that matters is the summit–and how you get there and why are just details. But I take pride in the details. I take pride in being committed if a bit deluded. I’d rather toil in obscurity than sell out my passion. There are plenty of athletes planting company flags on well known summits that can be bought by anyone; starting in 2014 we will bring our diabetes to the places that fire up the imagination rather than conjuring up images of what has been done repeatedly.
Project365 was not a stunt, it is a statement that continues to speak beyond the world of diabetes. Some people seem to think that I should accept the limitation of playing within a box of smaller relevance. I feel like this message is just starting to take shape and that it’s a lot bigger than just diabetes. Accepting limitations is a choice. Going beyond those limits is also a choice. It’s good to feel the hunger again–it heightens the senses. Not hunger for approval or funding but for adventure and for the gritty suffering of true commitment!
The best part is that I am not alone in this endeavor; Team LivingVertical provides a growing community that reflects this passion and irreverence for convention. Diabetes because we must; climbing because we can. Oh, and I still haven’t finished drafting the manifest for the 2014 project yet–but it should be done soon, once I get back from screening the documentary in Joshua Tree on Jan 25th. I am done doubting myself (for now) and ready to follow my heart into another epic tale, so the inspiration of some high desert crushing will undoubtedly get the creative juices flowing and bring the vision into clearer focus!