A Tight Grip
Joseph Hobby • March 1, 2016 • Lifestyle •
“No expectations.” I continue to recite this mantra.
“No expectations.” Two words, so simple, yet so hard to put into motion. The expectations I place on myself to perform a certain way no matter the occasion: climbing, writing, succeeding as a family man, boyfriend, mentor, provider. The list goes on. I had no idea the immediate life lessons that would ensue. On the one hand, with no expectations, I lose all standards and motivation to strive to achieve the most from life. On the other, society’s influence diverts me from embodying my desires and sharing from the heart. The characteristic Yin and Yang side of the many methods for taking on life. Balance and moderation, this is the key. Overcoming the fear of failure, this is the true end goal! And so I begin setting worries and stress aside, writing from the soul.
FEAR, a four letter word that holds more weight than the semi-truck that just swerved into my lane on the interstate. It comes in thousands of different forms and I, unfortunately, am all too familiar with many of them. From my first day of school with early morning stomach jitters, to the ‘cholesterol-rising hopes’ of a professional career, freedom in the mountains, self-sustaining salary and loving family. Life is scary and fear has a tight hold on the reins for most of its duration. At times the solution seems easy to cope with life’s trials and tribulations: shutdown, hole up in a warm house with a cozy blanket, and upon my next awakening hope for blue skies, roses and rainbows.
We all know that’s not the way the world works. Opportunities arise, challenges bring everyday life to a halt, and forks in the road call for decisions that have to be made. My younger years have been an era of trial and error; a continual flow of knowledge based on a better understanding of myself and my interactions with the world. With this education and heightened awareness, I’ve had to make many choices. New people, new places and simply new experiences cause those dreaded uncomfortable feelings to surface. I am in a constant flux. One month conditioned to dangling 800 feet up on a vast granite face, yet fearful of addressing an unfamiliar audience. And the next, after dedicating some time to work and society, pouring sweat reminiscing on past climbing objectives, but eager to make acquaintances with a total stranger. And this applies to all areas of my life, regardless of the lapse. So questions of fear arise: Do I stay or do I go? Should I resist change? Can I stand up to the challenge? Will I be alright? What will they think? Is the world going to take care of me? And this internal ramble continues on and on if I allow it.
As William Arthur Ward said, “But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live. Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom. Only a person who risks is free. The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; and the realist adjusts the sails.”
These questions are a glimpse into the challenges that I’ve faced, and am currently confronted with each day. Neither, giving into fear, turning my back on opportunities and growth, nor naively diving head first into every situation resulting in potential heartache and pain, deliver the answer I yearn for.
Both of these extreme views present issues, yet finding balance and examining what’s at stake, that’s what calls for my focus today. Because in the end, I long to experience the most out of life, and that requires ‘letting go’, having faith and stepping out on the world’s steepest ledge.
Photography by Joseph HobbyWild Paths