There’s something wonderful about surprising yourself with our own capabilities and progress. I’m sure that there’s a word for it in German.
I spend a lot of my free time either rock climbing or dancing. With both pursuits, I have my ups and downs, my things I feel confident about, stuff I’m working on, and things I am terrible at.
I’ve been plateauing a bit with my bouldering lately. I have been stuck at the V4 level for awhile, not sure how to progress.
And then something clicked. Suddenly crimp holds (like the one pictured above) that were impossible for me a few months ago, now felt much more doable.
Here’s a terrible video of me sending a V5 that is all crimps. I flashed it the first time!
It’s such a neat feeling having a whole class of holds upon up for you, after avoiding them ever since you started climbing. I see the wall totally differently now, with lots of new possibilities.
Similarly, I’ve felt plateaued in my lindy hop dancing, after having done it for a couple of decades. I rarely surprise myself when dancing. I know what my strengths are, things I find challenging, and major roadblocks (learning choreo, dancing fast).
But when I dance as a follow in lindy hop it’s totally different. EVERYTHING is new to me. I’m TERRIBLE at it, and I always have a blast doing it. I love sucking at something that I’ve felt like an expert at for so many years.
Every dance is like a new, unknown challenge. Will I be able to follow this leader? Will I be able to dance to this song? It’s so exciting.
It’s like a whole new side of the dance has opened up for me, that I had never thought I would be able to experience or do.
I guess the big lesson for me is to always try and find that place where you can push your own practice, explore new areas, discover new things about yourself. That’s how to avoid burnout and negative mental spirals. And enjoy being terrible. Celebrate the suck.