My Lurking Fear
Quite honestly, through the trials and tribulations of life, a mixture of all the experiences that have come my way. One thing I never saw happening to me was becoming a parent.
On the verge of a brand-new adventure, I was about to conquer my ‘Lurking Fear’ – in reality and metaphorically.
A bit about me…
If you’re new to this blog, you might not be familiar with who I am behind the scenes. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a multitude of excellent life opportunities, from writing guidebooks, magazine features on my travels, and even a section of Lonely Planet I presented about Okinawa. Everything is orientated around my passions from climbing, traveling, and photography.
All these achievements in front of me, I’d done it all; yes, I still wanted to push it even more.
It’s played a prominent role throughout my life, especially when you consider that I’ve been climbing since the 1980s. Sometimes, it encompassed me. Somewhere along the way, as I traveled all around the world, I discovered that my life needed more fulfillment – leading me to become a teacher, eventually a principal, and finally a Head of School.
Through teaching, I’ve learned more from my students than I ever hoped to teach them.
Beginning of Family Life
It was when living/teaching in Indonesia that I met Ernita, my wife. Together, we continued a joined love for travel and climbing. Nothing happened overnight; for several years, we were driven to continue living this journey together – sometimes, I never wished for it to end.
At this point, I had no idea that I’d be entering some of the more fulfilling years of my life. I found myself instead, filled with dread, scared of the unknown.
It sounds selfish, but when the day came that Ernita told me we were expecting… I jumped to the conclusion of ‘how will this affect our lifestyle’. At this point, we’re still living our lives all around the world and spending the majority of our time on cliffs – I’ve had this conversation many a time since that day. I think that it was a normal conversation within the community, especially if you are tuned to climbing.
But looking back, it was a mixture of the impact and also a general fear within myself – asking myself the question, could I be a dad?
Together we sat and talked about how we aspired to adapt. We agreed that when our little one arrived, we would stick to single pitch routes; ultimately it would only have a minor impact on our adventures.
Many people endure the fear of becoming a parent; it’s a lot more common than you might think. I’m an individual who finds myself self-aware about the responsibilities involved in planning life; never mind now, having a child. Like most of the adventures I take on through my hobbies, I decided to fight my feelings head-on, and conquer this mountain.
I’ve never looked back.
Kids & Climbing
You might be wondering, how much did my opinion switch when welcoming our firstborn. Well, to give you an example, as an international teacher, I’d find myself turning down job offers; simply because the country had no cliff. Now, I was trading the tracks for bottles and family time.
Something that’s really important to Ernita and me, especially since we now have two children, was that we never stopped pursuing our love for climbing. It’s been key to keeping the balance in parenting and living life to the fullest.
Not to go off on a tangent, if you want one bit of key advice for climbing with kids – don’t set too many expectations, go with the flow and pack well. If you’d like more advice, don’t forget to let us know in the comments.
Over the years, my life’s taken many twists and turns; nothing more prominent than this. Now, the highlight of my day could be as simple as watching my 5-year-old use a spoon. It’s been the experience of a lifetime; I’d not change a moment of it for the world.
Through everything, a debt of gratitude goes out to my wife. Alongside taking care of the kids, I’d not be close to thinking about the tribulations of childbirth; yet she was out climbing not even 4-weeks after giving birth to Claire – a true superhero.
Now life has a new mission coming full circle – something that I’d love to see is my children (although I don’t force them to climb) conquer their Lurking Fear. Perhaps join me on an adventure or two… wouldn’t that be something?