As luck would have it, the day that I wrote and published my summer bucket list was the last nice day we had all week. Since then, the weather here in Leeds has taken a turn for the worse. A sharp, severe turn all the way back to October.
I tell ya reader friends, it has been unpleasantly cold. Like wearing sweatpants to bed cold.
I am not impressed. But, I shall not dwell.
Although our month didn’t include an exotic or exciting adventure, June was a pretty great month on the personal front.
After returning from our Croatia trip, we spent a bit of time resettling and relaxing after our vacation before jumping back into life whole hog.
As usual, work was hectic and all consuming, but let’s not dwell on that because well, everyone works and it’s not really the most fun thing to talk about. Instead, let’s focus on what I got up to on those off hours. Those few precious hours during the week where I wasn’t working, eating or sleeping.
I kicked off June by challenging myself both physically and mentally and checked off one of my 2017 to dos by taking a beginners rock climbing course. Now, for most, this wouldn’t be a noteworthy accomplishment, but for this scaredy Kate, it was a pretty big deal.
I was so excited to tackle this fear when I signed up for the class, but as the first day approached my nerves started to set in and take hold. As I walked to the gym for that first class, with each step I had to convince myself to keep going and that everything would be just fine.
Even as I stood at the desk to check in I thought about leaving and never telling a soul. I mean, who would know!? But, I didn’t. I ignored that little voice in my head and just went for it.
After learning the basics and securely fastening every safety feature (and re-checking those knots and buckles multiple times) it was time to tackle the wall.
And it was terrifying.
Well, at least it was in the beginning. My first attempt at the wall was simply to get used to the feeling of belaying down, and I can’t say I was overly excited when this was suggested. For some reason, putting my life in the hands of a stranger while I threw myself off a wall 10, 20, 30ft from the ground wasn’t immediately appealing.
But I did it.
I walked up to that wall with all the confidence of a flower in a hail storm. I gripped the rock, found an overly large toe hold and pushed myself up in the air. I climbed a lot farther and faster than I anticipated, so when it came time to look back and down to my partner, I was a little terrified at how far from the floor I was.
When my partner had reassured me several times that he was ready for me to belay, I slooooooowly undid my grasp from the rocks and transferred my grip to the rope, and at a snail’s pace, made my way down.
In all honesty, a snail could have probably done it quicker. I mean, I was passed by a spider at one point.
I can’t really describe the sense of relief I felt when my feet hit the ground. Not only was I alive, but I’d managed not to cry, scream, sweat or wet myself.
So. Many. Personal. Triumphs.
Over the next few weeks, I tackled the walls a few more times. I climbed up, around, across and, on at least one occasion (okay, it was just once), I made it all the way to the top! I belayed, dangled in the air, and even slipped, and not once did I cry, scream, get drenched in sweat or pee.
Huge accomplishments. Huge.
While in the end, I didn’t fall in love with rock climbing, I’m so happy I signed up for and went through with the course. For someone who’s fear of heights has been getting worse over the years, it was so nice to know that I could be dangling from a semi-great height and be just fine (not that I’ll be seeking this out anytime soon). Honestly, it was just nice to be able to look down from 30ft in the air and not feel an immediate sense of panic.
It was also a relief to know that I could silence that inner critic when I needed to. My biggest fear in taking the course wasn’t that I wouldn’t be able to physically climb the wall, but if I could mentally handle it.
And I did.
So, while this month wasn’t full of exotic adventures, it did have one pretty exciting personal achievement.
- Leeds, UK
Distance Travelled: 0 km
- My Summer Bucket List
- A Day in Marsden
- A Day in Liverpool
- Petite Adventures Month in Review: May 2017
- Discover the Adriatic: Your Eight Day Guide to Exploring Croatia from Zadar to Dubrovnik
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What I Read
I read nothing this month.
Although I was really enjoying the story, it took me forever to finish The White Lioness. The book was quite long, but I found that I struggled to keep my eyes open and could barely make it through 10 pages at a time. Towards the end of the month (nearing its due date) I started taking it to the gym and there I managed to read a few chapters while peddling away on the bike. Yes, I did get a few strange looks walking into the gym with my paperback, but I was determined to finish it once and for all.
Once finished, I re-picked up The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story. I’d first started reading it earlier this year, but it was due back before I could finish, so I noted my page and put it on hold. Well, it’s back in my possession, and I’m not sure what it is but the story just hasn’t sucked me in. I have a week or so left until it’s due back again, so hopefully, I can put in a few good gym sessions and can knock this one off my list as well.
If the weather chooses to cooperate, July has the possibility of being a pretty great month. As usual, our schedules are busier than we would like, which means most of our time will be spent in Leeds but not all. In early-July, I’ll be tagging along as Dave and his colleagues head down to London for an event. This will be my first real visit to the capital (we had a quick pop over in the fall, but really that doesn’t count) and I am ridiculously excited to be *that* nerdy tourist! I already have a walking tour in my diary and can’t wait to fill the rest of my time with sights, sounds, snacks, and embarrassing Harry Potter-related photo ops!
On the personal front, July will see me reducing my work schedule from insane to manageable, which means after four-and-a-half months of long days and nights, I will finally have free time and a personal life again. Although I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had these last few weeks, I can’t say it’s been easy. I’ve had to make more than a few sacrifices during that time and I’m really looking forward to life getting somewhat back to normal and having a chance to enjoy summer, or at least what little summer we will have here in Leeds.
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