There’s this hill in the forest I like to climb. No. Hate to climb. I hop on my mountain bike and am compelled to tackle this horrible, steep incline that leaves my legs and lungs burning. It’s known as The Wall of Pain.
Properly named, absolutely.
On one particular day, I asked myself the question while I pedalled my little heart out on my way to the top.
Why do I do this? Why do I put myself through this excruciating agony? Worse, on days where I don’t find the strength or a root knocks me off my line, I put myself through a mental berating and suffer the grotesque defeat from The Wall. It sits heavy on me all day.
So why, time and again, do I turn onto this nasty trek of dirt? The only answer I could come up with is this: Because it’s there.
I don’t expect everyone to get this frame of thinking, because I don’t quite understand it myself.
However, I do know this. When I’ve given in and refused to push through, the feeling of failure trumps any relief my muscles enjoy when I quit.
I get this instinctive sense that The Wall is training me for something greater in life, where I’m being taught that, through the crappiest of times, it gets better on the other side — to stay with it, even if the goal is beyond my comprehension. I wonder what it is.
So when I’m at that mental crossroad and I want off, I push and burn and gasp and I keep going, because The Wall has shown me that failure feels worse than pain. When I reach the top, there’s nothing like it. It’s…euphoric. Maybe the answer to ‘why’ is, because I can.
Does everyone have something they do that drives them, but they don’t quite understand why? Are we all in training without knowing it — all these hobbies and initiatives that drive us, yet don’t seem to serve an obvious purpose?
I’m okay if there’s no real answer to that question. For now, I’ll just keep climbing. The Wall has a lot to say.
I’m listening as best I can.