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Climbing is a huge handicap to success in life.

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Le Sapeur 26 Jun 2022

Looking back on my climbing 'career' and its impact on success I have decided that as a whole, climbing was a major handicap to my early career and only when I stopped climbing could I dedicate myself to having even a semi successful business and therefore a stable income in my later years. 

Climbing, like drugs and booze, is addictive. It takes over lives and ruins careers. 

Sure, I had fun climbing. However, looking back, climbing now just looks like a huge waste of time. Climbing as a life I mean, not a climbing as a hobby. It's also a huge waste of lives. What for, scuffling up a piece of rock or ice? Really? 

I post this because a young member of my family has decided that he will now give up his studies to pursue climbing. He's ok as a climber but not great, actually rather mediocre. It feels like a wasted opportunity. Climbing in conjunction with life is great. Climbing as a be all and end all is, unless you are very good and can scrape a living, and I mean scrape a living, a bit crap really. He wants to spend the next 30 years climbing and living as a climbing bum. What then? A 50 year old burger flipper with some memories of Elvis leg, ripped waterproofs and cold bivvies. 

Even a 'career' as a climbing guide income can be unpredictable. 

I fully realise that this post is a bit like going on mumsnet and saying babies are shite, but hey ho, babies are, indeed, shite.

69
 mrphilipoldham 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

No one on their death bed ever wished they worked more.

2
 birdie num num 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

You need to read 'I chose to climb' by the great Sir Christopher Boddington.

1
Le Sapeur 26 Jun 2022
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> No one on their death bed ever wished they worked more.

No one on the bones of their arse ever wished they had climbed more.

57
 Sealwife 26 Jun 2022
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Sounds like Le Sapeur might

Le Sapeur 26 Jun 2022
In reply to birdie num num:

I've listened to it on audio book. Chris is one of the very, very few climbers who have managed to combine climbing with a climbing career. Mainly through his books and lectures. 

4
Le Sapeur 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Sealwife:

> Sounds like Le Sapeur might

Like climbing, my work is over. I'm 52, so hopefully not too near my death bed. I hope!

3
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Maybe given time and space this young soul will come to the same conclusion on their own?

Being willing to cast their own stone and find their own sense of value in a world where success is often determined by external signifiers could be a worthwhile journey.  I appreciate the concern shown for sustainability and longevity comes from a place of love, but in real terms how much are they risking? There's always training/ education/ careers available. I spent most of my 20s working crap jobs, having a laugh and climbing. Now I'm pretty steady with a career, kids etc. Wouldn't mind having a mortgage instead of renting but I've got an absolute treasure trove of memories and a good moral compass (I think).

 DaveHK 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Balance is everything.

1
 Dave Ferguson 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

He'll come round, I jacked it in and moved to Llanberis when I was 22. Spent 10 years there and loved every minute. Got a proper job and I've now had a stable career for 25 years and am very happy climbing evenings and weekends. You need to let him work it out for himself. My son has chosen to run away and join the circus, I don't expect he'll still be doing it for a living in his 40's.

Le Sapeur 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Wyre Forest Illuminati:

> Wouldn't mind having a mortgage instead of renting but I've got an absolute treasure trove of memories and a good moral compass (I think).

Those are the best things anyone could ever have. I assume you gave up full time climbing and having crap jobs some time ago?

 birdie num num 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Yes.

Right time, right place. Or I might say, right era, right attitude.

All a bit difficult these days

Le Sapeur 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Dave Ferguson:

>  My son has chosen to run away and join the circus, I don't expect he'll still be doing it for a living in his 40's.

Has he really? Hmmmm.

Seeing many 40+ year olds working in climbing shops my worry is he does just that. Joins the climbing circus and ends up painting his face and clowning around in his 5th decade.

40
 65 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

I think you might have stumbled onto the wrong forum.

1
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> No one on the bones of their arse ever wished they had climbed more.

Is there no way you can as a family convince him to get a decent education under his belt first?

7
Le Sapeur 26 Jun 2022
In reply to 65:

> I think you might have stumbled onto the wrong forum.

No problem, I alluded to that on my post.

 Xharlie 26 Jun 2022
In reply to DaveHK:

Moderation in all things, including moderation.

Le Sapeur 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Timmd:

> Is there no way you can as a family convince him to get a decent education under his belt first?

No. Tried, Failed.

In reply to Le Sapeur:

> No. Tried, Failed.

Bugger, best I can think of is 'Keep on at him', each time he faces a financial hiccup or is feeling lacking in life choices, bring up how an education can open more doors.

In a way which he'd absorb, that is.

Post edited at 22:02
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 Forest Dump 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

If I was starting my 'career'/adult life now I would do whatever gave it meaning and helped me sleep at night. Housing's already a pipe dream, there's been no normal since 2008 and things are gonna be pretty apocalyptic by 2050 anyway. The societal and economic changes needed to make the future liveable are so vast as to almost make sensible career choices redundant for most.

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Le Sapeur 26 Jun 2022
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> No one on their death bed ever wished they worked more.

Really? Never in the entire history of the world has no one ever wished that? I bet somewhere, sometime, someone has. Rockefeller or some such.

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Le Sapeur 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Timmd:

His main problem is that bank of mum is funding him, and that won't change. Not life changing funds but enough to keep him ticking over.

In reply to Le Sapeur:

> His main problem is that bank of mum is funding him, and that won't change. Not life changing funds but enough to keep him ticking over.

I was vaguely wondering about whether the 'withdrawal of funds from above' might help focus him, if that was a factor, that is.  That hasn't happened to me (the withdrawal of funds), but a fear of poverty/awareness of how different life could be for me, seems to have kept me moving towards independence from bank-of-Dad as far as needing it goes.

Maybe getting his mum on side could be a plan, towards giving him a deadline to have made progress by?

Post edited at 22:16
In reply to Le Sapeur:

I tend to agree, climbing isn't good for careers, relationships and the general ought to do things.

I have held down a career with varying levels of success and failure since my early 20s. I sometime look enviously at those who took time out to bum around, flip burgers etc to support a climbing lifestyle.

Climbing has not helped my career at all. Knackered every Mon and Tues from the weekend, scratching around for excuses for an early dart when the sun shines, struggling to fit work, life and climbing into the day. It all gets noticed.

The thing is, if it wasn't climbing it would have been something else taking my attention away.

My approach has left me in a position where I will retire early in a few years and enjoy my gap years then with the wisdom and skills to get every last moment out of them. 

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 mrphilipoldham 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Timmd:

There’s little to go in the initial post but if he’s old enough to quit studies then I’m guessing he’s at university and over 18. It’s a fallacy to suggest everyone knows what they want to do at that age. It’s very common for folk to retrain for a new career later in life, 30s, 40s, 50s.. so it’s never too late to ‘get a decent education’ (whether in HE or a trade etc). He could quite as easily try to fall in to a decent well paying career at the age of 21, fail, but have to work all the hours god sends in a minimum wage job to pay for the fancy flat that was designed to allow him to have the high flying career in the big city and ultimately still end up ‘skint’ and going no where in life. Let the boy make his own way, happiness is all that really matters. Without that life is pointless.

In reply to mrphilipoldham:

A decent education sooner (if he does have an interest in something) probably keeps more options open I think, I'm 42 now, and it's notable how shorter life feels compared to during my 20's, earlier on can be a good time to sew seeds and experiment as it were, in having more tools and time to try different things before finding a way of living which is (hopefully) mostly agreeable.

You're totally right that there's 1000's of path towards happiness and no schedule to follow, though, it was along the lines of stacking the odds more favourably that I was thinking really. Maybe he'll find a niche which he doesn't need higher education for, and there's more to him leaving his studies than wanting to climb, that it's to do with it not being right for him.

Post edited at 22:14
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 Xharlie 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

As someone who was forced into following a strategy of maximising employability and salaried remuneration at all costs, "enjoyed" an immensely successful career in which I not only did what I was good at but also a whole tonne of things I could just act really good at -- like sales and customer diplomacy -- and crashed and burned out and has been unable to hold down any job at all for some time, now, I'm pretty sure that climbing and other such pointless follies are just about the only reason I *only* burned out and I'm still around to type this reply, today.

 Sealwife 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> No. Tried, Failed.

I don’t think it is as vital these days to do the School - University - Career for life, in that order.

Plenty of people change careers, re-train, take years out, have more than one career.  

In addition to this there are other ways to have a fulfilling life, other than through work.  

There’s nothing wrong with working in a climbing shop in your 40s if that’s what makes a person happy. Obviously it would be nice if it paid better.

 fire_munki 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Forest Dump:

> If I was starting my 'career'/adult life now I would do whatever gave it meaning and helped me sleep at night. Housing's already a pipe dream, there's been no normal since 2008 and things are gonna be pretty apocalyptic by 2050 anyway. The societal and economic changes needed to make the future liveable are so vast as to almost make sensible career choices redundant for most.

God yes. If I was 20 years younger I'd not be focusing on the long term (initially at very least), houses for some people my age and more people younger are pipe dreams, lots of bridges for opportunities have been burnt by older generations (maybe not by folks here but certainly in the real world), I'd not blame anyone for escaping/delaying the rat race and it's associated bullish!t.

In reply to Le Sapeur:

> His main problem is that bank of mum is funding him,

Well, that answers my obvious question...

 65 26 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Less flippantly, if your memories of climbing amount to no more than some disco leg etc then yes I'd say you wasted your time because it clearly wasn't for you. I doubt that's the case, but it's how it comes over.

FWIW, and I'm sure many on here will have similar stories, I had a very well paying job up until I was about 23. I hated it, I hated the life it led me to and I hated the thought that I'd end up like my miserable colleagues but I didn't know anything different. Through not too many serendipitous stages I discovered walking and then climbing, jacked my job, went to college for a bit then dropped out and worked in a highland hostelry well known to climbers for a few years. Subsistence wages, living in a caravan when my friends were buying their first flat, running a leaky 15 year old car with holes drilled in the floor to let all the water out when my ex-colleagues were buying new Golf GTis on tick, hitching everywhere rather than flying, saving nothing, etc. It was the best time of my life but not sustainable, and I was much too mediocre a climber to ever have a hope of becoming 'professional.' Aside from some unremarkable climbing achievements, I developed hugely through the people I spent time with, learned so much more of the world beyond what I knew and now I have memories and friendships which I wouldn't swap for the mortgage being paid off.

It doesn't have to be forever. I did a multitude of shit jobs afterwards, went to Uni at 30 and now apparently I'm a professional with a career.

Your relative may feel similar. Before long they may realise they aren't going to be the next Dave MacLeod or Wideboyz and like most people will get bored quickly on the same plateau and wonder if they ought to do something with their life. 

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In reply to Presley Whippet:

It all depends on how one defines 'success', too, less progress in a career but more memories of being out in nature with friends, could seem to be a richer life to look back on than one which revolves around work (more than you describe in how you live your life). 

Being free from money worries could seem to be the main thing to aim for, living with those seems to drain a lot of potential for happiness/being at peace from people's lives.

Post edited at 22:25
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> No one on their death bed ever wished they worked more.

Probably not, I certainly won't. However they may well regret lots of other decisions they made, but we'll only know what in hindsight.

I reckon plenty die after many years in miserable circumstances because they didn't think hard enough about financial provision, which I think might be behind Le Sapeur's concerns.

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In reply to Le Sapeur:

> Like climbing, my work is over. I'm 52, so hopefully not too near my death bed. I hope!

So you dossed about for a few years, put a bit of work in later and then knocked it on the head at 50ish and retired? I reckon you did alright!

In reply to Le Sapeur:

Two things, firstly you seem to be measuring success by financial or material achievement - that's a very narrow view of success.

Secondly, you state "Like climbing, my work is over. I'm 52" - so if you've retired that early (lucky you, or maybe that should be, well done), why the hell aren't you out climbing?

1
In reply to Le Sapeur:

I've worked really hard in the past 10 years, while climbing at the same time. Frankly, it has felt at times that I lost the time of my life where I could have spent extended periods of time to do something I really love. I'm now in my late 30's and that time is gone and is never coming back. You spent your years doing something you loved.

In reply to Le Sapeur:

A very courageous post, leaving us with a trillion things to think and talk about. I might get around to discussing it tomorrow, but frankly the creative job I'm doing at the moment is so satisfying, so much part of the core meaning of life for me, that I may not find the time. But thanks for starting such an interesting and crucially important discussion. Someone has mentioned balance above. That's the key, I think, balancing out all the different, vitally important parts of our lives.

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In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Just one more thought. It's sad that no one here has even dared mention creativity, having a creative life, or at least struggling to have one (I'm not talking about huge talent, but struggling to fulfil whatever talents we may have been blessed with). Which is all about trying to give something to the world, that lasts (long after we are dead), and not about self-indulgence. The top climbers, the pioneers, certainly give something to the world that lives after them. But then, so do the artists and the scientists, arguably to a much bigger degree.

I suppose this is just another way of saying the world is a big place, and the time we have to contribute to it is short. I don't think it's ALL about having big adventures, just for ourselves.

Post edited at 23:57
5

In reply to rentaclimber:

I'll have to confess that I find your line of argument here very difficult to follow. My main point was not that a creative pursuit 'supports' a life but rather the reverse. It's not about the creator's life. And, sorry, in the rather difficult world that I know, I've never seen anyone succeed without a considerable amount of creative talent. Of course they all work their bollocks off at the same time. I repeat: as I've always understood it, it's all about creativity and leaving permanent, valuable, entertaining things behind us when we're dead.

1
 Kalna_kaza 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> Seeing many 40+ year olds working in climbing shops my worry is he does just that. 

I know a few of people in their 40s who work in climbing shops and they are amongst the most interesting and genuine people I've ever met.

Frankly your comment is in poor taste given they will almost certainly read this.

9
 kevin stephens 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Your young relative will probably just be taking a gap year; or less when he discovers that 100% climbing will be quite boring, especially if he doesn’t turn out to be very good at it. Young people do this in a range of activities, be it cycle racing, a ski season or whatever. Hopefully the year will give him opportunity to “find himself” and decide how to spend the next phase of his life. However the “bank of mum” may be a hindrance to learning how to be self reliant.

Post edited at 07:18
 The Norris 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

I got 'encouraged' to go to uni when I was 18, I didn't really have a clue what I wanted to do nor what subject to take. I ended up just about passing the degree, failed to get a related job and spent the next 10 years bumming around with shit jobs getting wasted going clubbing all the time.

I eventually sorted myself out in my 30s, found my calling, went to uni again, got a first, got a decent job.

Moral of the story I guess would be to not push him into something he doesn't want to do, or isn't sure about. If it takes him a few years to figure it out, that's fine, it might actually save him time in finding his niche in the world (that's assuming he doesn't make it as a pro climber).

 VictorM 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

As someone who works in outdoor retail in his middle 30s I can only agree with this.

Yes, retail doesn't pay an enormous amount of money (better if you're off the shop floor and do backoffice things as well, which one will almost naturally grow into) but it does have its perks: time off; a genuine connection between your hobby and your work without your hobby becoming your work; no overtime hours without pay, and above all colleagues and customers who are genuinely looking for advice and experience - and of course staff discounts...

In all seriousness, I wish I had discovered climbing at a younger age and would have been able to take a gap year or just bum it around, instead of doing the normal thing and going straight to college. Not that I'm regretting that much either. Life takes its course and we all have our own choices to make. Let the young dude make his. He'll probably discover that life is about balance and that the best way to make it work is to find a job you like enough to spend 30-40 hours a week there, still pays the bills and provides enough downtime to go climbing. 

cb294 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Are you really sure this is driven mainly by the pull factor of climbing, and not by the push factor of higher education in the times of covid being a bit shit?

I know quite a few students who have dropped out of uni over the last couple of years, especially in their first or second years, and to be honest I can't really blame them.

While we do our best with remote or hybrid teaching to cover the coursework, the whole thing pretty much misses the point about going off to uni. The actual benefits that young people should take away from their time at uni clearly lie, to a non negligible part, also outside the courses and lessons!

Especially if they are still young it may truly be better to do some gap year like stuff now, and start again in a couple of years when they have grown up a bit, something uni unfotunately can't really help with in these times.

Anyway, I would treat whatever a 19 yo tells you what they plan to do for the next 30 years with a generous helping of salt!

CB

In reply to Le Sapeur:

When doing a ski season in Cham in my mid-twenties, a wise man a few years older than me said 'There's a lot of Peter Pans in this valley'.  It opened my eyes, and looking round there were two groups of long term inhabitants, the true Peter Pans who still fully believed in the ski bum lifestyle but were heading for knackered knees, minimum wage jobs and a miserable looking old age, and a second group who had decided they wanted to stay in the valley, made a long term plan to support that and set up businesses or gained qualifications that meant they could do reasonably skilled/paid work in the local area.

There was of course a third group, the ones who chose to leave ski resort life and were only visible when they returned for a few days of mountain air and remembering their younger years.

Personally, the several year gap I took between finishing uni and starting 'proper work', filled with climbing, skiing and sailing, were some of the most valuable of my life and definitely made me better at my job when I settled into a career.  

In reply to Le Sapeur:

I didn't start my career until my mid twenties, and neither did a few of my mates (we're now in our forties). I don't regret that in the slightest and I don't think those mates do either

 Enty 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> No one on the bones of their arse ever wished they had climbed more.

Rubbish. I have this argument with Mrs. Ent all the time. If I get to my old age absolutely skint but I've done most of my tick list I'll die a happy man.

E

1
In reply to Sam Beaton:

> I didn't start my career until my mid twenties, and neither did a few of my mates (we're now in our forties). I don't regret that in the slightest and I don't think those mates do either

I'm 54 and still don't have anything resembling a 'career', just a succession of jobs with each one paying a bit more than the last one, but enough squirreled away to finish work by 60.

Not everyone goes to Uni and has a career, it's not the end of the world if someone doesn't.

1
 ctranter 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Spending time doing things you enjoy is success in life 

In reply to Le Sapeur:

To climb or not to climb as a career path is a personal decision. I had a reasonably successful climbing and mountaineering full time career, but in my early thirties, having tried guiding and instructing, I decided this was not for me. One on one instructing as a lifestyle choice didn’t appeal, as apart from a perception that it wouldn’t fund a comfortable later life, it actually detracted from my own enjoyment. Nobody earns much money directly from climbing, but writing or lecturing a la Bonington or Scott, which allows a continuing list of aspirations to be indulged in is one avenue, or building a company around climbing such as Martin Atkinson, Ben Moon or Jerry Moffat, all former “dossers” who made a good living from a climbing association. Conversely there’s ,s the likes of Ron Fawcett, who leads a relatively simple lifestyle, but is free to pursue his undiminished passion for daily climbing. I made my way in the emerging roped access industry and still enjoy climbing, but with hard work now have the means to travel and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Like I said personal choice, but you won’t be forever young and need to think of later. I never thought of getting old, but at 71 I’m glad I made the choices I did.

 nikoid 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> Climbing has not helped my career at all. Knackered every Mon and Tues from the weekend, scratching around for excuses for an early dart when the sun shines, struggling to fit work, life and climbing into the day. It all gets noticed.

This absolutely chimes with me. I often think I should have been more focussed at work, but not sure how much I can blame on climbing  rather than a lack of ambition. I had a reasonably interesting job which was the main thing. 

But climbing kept me healthy. In idle moments I would look around the office at people much younger than me who were clearly never going to do anything energetic ever again and probably go to an early grave.

Sitting on your backside in an office for 40 years isn't good for you. Careers aren't everything.

 neilh 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Ridge:

I interview too many 50 year olds who made wrong choices and are now in basically stuck in dead end jobs and are looking for a way out in terms of something more fulfilling as a job both in terms of money and satisfaction.You can see it in their faces. they know they have screwed up and there is little hope of something more fulflling.

The way the global economy is working out its possibly not any longer a good future lifestyle decision to be unskilled for the economy.Skilled includes an apprenticeship and is a valuable non Uni route.

You might be lucky, but the % of people who are is pretty low.

And remember. You only hear about the ones who have made something of it. Most people hide their failures.

Post edited at 10:37
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 wintertree 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

If someone spends all their time focused on doing what they love, they should develop immensely in all sorts of ways across the skills spectrum, and I dare say they'll be able to translate that to other areas when the time comes.

On the flip side, a story I've seen all too many times during 1:1 tutoring at a university is the misery and mental/physical health damage caused to young people by letting themselves be pushed around by their elders in to a study route that isn't for them, or worse frog-marched to internships and graduate programs.

Most likely outcome is that they either pack it in after a few years with a lot of skills, experience and decent friends under their belt, or they become a much better climber and follow that.

I thought it was very admissive of you to call them "mediocre" - I've no doubt that if I had focused more and more on climbing rather than career that I've have progressed significantly in my climbing.  As it is, one horrible sandbag lead in a slimy chimney (more like a flowing sewer, really) taught me something that's underpinning my moderate success in middle life, namely that self-belief may not let me achieve the impossible, but that lacking it is a critical barrier to achieving the hard-but-possible.  Also it taught me to stop climbing low grade chimneys in the North East.

 muppetfilter 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Climbing got me into a Job in my mid 20's that has had lots of variety, travel and free time with a good wage. Climbing or anything in life is a detrimental thing when done out of balance with everything else.

In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> No one on their death bed ever wished they worked more.

Maybe not - but there will be many people who will look back on what they achieved in jobs that made a positive impact on other people's lives with real satisfaction. I guess it's rather a puritan view, but I don't think happiness is all that matters in life. Spending your life in pursuance solely of your own pleasure will seem selfish to some, me included. As a headteacher I met countless kids who told me they wanted to do something with their lives that would help others and "make a difference" and I always felt great admiration for their idealism and determination to change the world for the better. Whereas if they told me they just wanted to have fun, I simply respected their decision.

3
In reply to neilh:

> I interview too many 50 year olds who made wrong choices and are now in basically stuck in dead end jobs and are looking for a way out in terms of something more fulfilling as a job both in terms of money and satisfaction.You can see it in their faces. they know they have screwed up and there is little hope of something more fulflling.

Do you take them on, or are they to all intents and purposes unemployable? Because employers won't get a return on investment in training them before they retire, or because they lack skills compared to their younger competitors?

 Si dH 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Lots of good stuff has been said already. I would only add - you need to let them take responsibility for their own decisions, while giving them the right amount of advice and/or encouragement as appropriate. If they are dead-set on climbing full time for a while you are unlikely to change that without a major falling out. It might be much better to maintain a strong relationship while encouraging them to keep their options open and making sure they know that they can always change path and look for an alternative career in a few years' time if climbing full time turns sour. I don't know how old they are and what they have done already but that could mean going to university, or retraining in some way...all of which obviously need some funding, so bank of mum might want to think about keeping a bit back to help out. I don't think it's likely to be healthy or satisfactory for anyone in the medium term for them to continue relying on bank of mum to sustain a climbing lifestyle rather than becoming more independent. They'll probably work that out for themselves after a while and if they don't find a way forward they are happy with in climbing, they'll want to look for something else. But in the shorter term, you might want to encourage mum to limit what is offered in some way. Good luck.

Post edited at 12:22
 ChrisLeigh19 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

I don't really know how this will fit into the thread, but I've had to do A levels (or not do them) as well as 2 years of uni during covid and I can honestly say they've been the worst years of my life. Many times I seriously contemplated doing *anything* that wasn't sitting in a room by myself watching last years recorded lectures on a laptop.

Climbing has been the sole positive in all of this, and I personally wish I pushed uni back a year to climb around the country.

 neilh 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Toerag:

In current market nobody is really unemployable imho.Even those with medical conditions can be taken on and managed.Whether the money is Ok is very dedateable.

I have taken on a couple who have been able to move on, but interestingly thay have had good mechanical skills ( such as messing around with motorbikes or rebuilding cars as a hobby). Usually it turns out they flunked their college education and have struggled as never got basic qualifications.Most employers these days require  a bit of  brains and brawn so to speak.

In previous generations those people could always find a good role, but these days its becoming harder.Technology in all areas means you need a bit more about you if you are after a good job.

People do make wrong choices( its part of life, we all usually do), but its hard and not always easy to correct the older you get.

In reply to Andy Clarke:

> Maybe not - but there will be many people who will look back on what they achieved in jobs that made a positive impact on other people's lives with real satisfaction.

My issue with the "Nobody on their death bed ever..." statements is they assume you'll die in quiet, contemplative comfort, rather than dying without knowing what hit you, being so riddled with Alzheimer's you don't remember anything or just begging to die because the morphine doesn't touch the pain anymore...

> I guess it's rather a puritan view, but I don't think happiness is all that matters in life. Spending your life in pursuance solely of your own pleasure will seem selfish to some, me included. As a headteacher I met countless kids who told me they wanted to do something with their lives that would help others and "make a difference" and I always felt great admiration for their idealism and determination to change the world for the better. Whereas if they told me they just wanted to have fun, I simply respected their decision.

I think it all depends on your world view. I'm quite happy to accept my innate mediocrity in everything I've ever done, (be it climbing, running, swimming, career or 'changing the world for the better').

A quiet, peaceful death followed by oblivion and obscurity will do for me. Billions of people will have far worse fates than that.

1
 wintertree 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Si dH:

> But in the shorter term, you might want to encourage mum to limit what is offered in some way.

I missed that later post from Le Sapeur; I see it now (searching thread for "mum") and have had a bit of a perspective swivel and can see it from their side more now.

I agree with you on limiting the offer. If a parent is handing cash over to enable their lifestyle, that undermines many of their motivations to develop that borders skill set otherwise needed to chase their dream and to take them beyond it.  Worst case is that the support leads to a very unhealthy mindset that they deserve the support for some revisionist reasons.   One of the ugliest confrontations I've had was with a grown man a decade older than me who thought a shared (elder) relative owed him support.  

1
 Petrafied 27 Jun 2022
In reply to DaveHK:

> Balance is everything.

Especially on slabs.

In reply to Ridge:

> A quiet, peaceful death followed by oblivion and obscurity will do for me. Billions of people will have far worse fates than that.

I don't disagree - and that's one of the reasons I was always so impressed by idealistic young people who wanted to do their bit to lessen the number of people facing worse fates. And in defiance of any cynicism, plenty of them went on to do exactly that.

cb294 27 Jun 2022
In reply to ChrisLeigh19:

I feel sorry for your experience, but I can ensure you that I and most of my colleagues tried as much as we could to make uni a worthwhile experience for your cohort (hard work given that it in most countries it is / was official government policy to shit on the interests and well being of young people from great height).

As I said above, I cannot blame anyone who during the last couple of years found uni not the stimulating experience it should be (and hopefully will be again), and decided to drop out and try their luck elsewhere, or give another go at a later point in time.

Our youngest son graduated from school in summer 2021, and we urgently recommended him to delay studying for a year. Instead, he is now doing a voluntary service year as a bird warden on a North sea island, IMO a much better choice.

CB

 bouldery bits 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

The Levellers have some insight here.

BB

Post edited at 13:00
In reply to Le Sapeur:

I think the best thing you can do is ensure your nipper knows exactly what they're getting themself into. Questions they need to answer:-

Do they want kids? If so, when?

Do they want a house? If so, how big, where, and when?

When do they want to retire?

What sort of retirement do they want? How much do they think it will cost? How much money do they need to put away to get that level of retirement income?

So many people fail to consider their longterm future and subsequently leave things too late - either paying into a pension, or having kids. If they're 18 and want to bum around for 30 years that means they're looking to start work properly at 48 - good luck with that!

8
 Forest Dump 27 Jun 2022
In reply to bouldery bits:

Damn it!

 neilh 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Toerag:

I really doubt most people at that age can think like that. Some can.

I would suggest that its difficult for the OP considering how it worked out for him in the end!

Post edited at 13:31
 mutt 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Can it be that, in common with many father's, you have applied a little too much pressure for your son to work hard, get good exam results so that he can get a good job that meets only your expectations. I'm not judging, I catch myself doing just that, but that pressure will come out. Hopefully your son will find happiness. That is all we should want for our offspring isn't it? 

 Xharlie 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Enty:

> If I get to my old age absolutely skint but I've done most of my tick list I'll die a happy man.

Conversely, I could pay my ticket to the base of any hard route in the world. Can't climb a one of them, though, because my elbow's fooked from desk-work and RSI from a nervous "stim".

Had all the scans, and most of them again, too -- neither doctors nor money can restore youth.

In reply to Le Sapeur:

You haven't defined success, the question was near meaningless.

If "success" means a very traditional career path, golf club membership and a semi detached house in the right-kind of suburb? No: climbing is probably not helpful.

If "success" means a life worth living? Yes: for many people it's a valuable, perhaps even essential ingredient

Post edited at 15:11
1
 wbo2 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:  I would bear in mind that most peoples jobs are not very interesting, or exciting, and are there to provide a supply of money to sustain a relatively comfortable lifestyle, and not much more.  I wouldn't begrudge anyone young having a few years of something they enjoy before settling down what is, for the vast majority , the best part of 50 years before they retire.

Also, I'd suggest a few years discovering what makes you tick is a better way to start a satisfying life compared to a few years of misery you're doing 'because it's the right thing to do'

 neilh 27 Jun 2022
In reply to wbo2:

I thouroughly enjoyed my working life in my early twenties etc. Great fun.Plenty of people do.

2
 Cobra_Head 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Like everything, life's a balance isn't it?

I love booze, I love climbing, but I'm happy to do both in moderation and enjoy them both.

I've stopped climbing "hard", at least for me, because I now have kids, and it would be stupid for me to hurt myself over some silly battle with a piece of rock. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy it, maybe a bit less than before, but so what?

I've never been one to train for anything, maybe that's just me, can't really apply myself. But I see people stretching and doing pull-ups and campasing, and they really don't seem to be enjoying themselves.

Telling people how to live their lives though, not a great idea. Everyone's on their own journey.

Post edited at 16:07
In reply to neilh:

> I really doubt most people at that age can think like that. Some can.

It doesn't require much thinking though - even if they don't know what house they want or when they can pick a couple of examples and work through them so they know what they're up against due to the joys of cut'n'paste.  A few fag packet calculations with assumptions from the current / recent economic climate would work wonders in terms of making the young person aware of various realities.

> I would suggest that its difficult for the OP considering how it worked out for him in the end!

Parent's experiences affect their points of view massively. Over here many parents who worked in the growing industry or pestered their kids to go into finance as when they were younger finance was far better paid than growing. Fast forward to today and that isn't the case anymore.

4
 mrphilipoldham 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Andy Clarke:

I don’t disagree.. but equally there’s probably something to be said about people being happy in themselves being more productive in whatever their professional role too whether it’s a doctor or a decorator. The whole work/life balance thing I guess. 

In reply to Le Sapeur:

My advice on this is what I gave to a kid about 20 years ago who was talking about ditching Uni to become a DJ.

Stick with your education. Get some qualifications behind you then you have a fallback if living your dream doesn't work out.

He didn't listen, I know you will all find this hard to believe but he never made it as a celebrity DJ and last I heard he was a coffee slinger at a Costa. 

5
 wbo2 27 Jun 2022
In reply to neilh: And plenty don't .  It can take a bit of time to find out what you're good at, and like.

And lets be blunt, once you're in your 30's and 40's you will likely have a lot more responsibility, and be limited in what you can do.

Cobra Head: 'I've never been one to train for anything, maybe that's just me, can't really apply myself. But I see people stretching and doing pull-ups and campasing, and they really don't seem to be enjoying themselves.'

That's a different thing, some people need to do stuff that's harder, challenging , for it to be satisfying .  A lot of training isn't immediately fun, but they rewards can be very deep, satisfying. Some people like being OK at a lot of things, others find it disatisfying and specialise (and train...) 

Toerag:'A few fag packet calculations with assumptions from the current / recent economic climate would work wonders in terms of making the young person aware of various realities.'

My answer to economic realities is that they're easier when you earn a 100K a year , or a bit more.  And that's a lot easier to make happen when it's something you're actually interested in , and can focus on, having had a few wild years

2
In reply to Dax H:

My daughter vehemently wanted to miss Uni. and basically vegetate, or travel if we were prepared to pay. We weren’t. She pointed out I didn’t have a proper job until in my 30,s, as I was climbing, but nevertheless we persisted with her to at least give it a go. She loved it, became totally engrossed with a subject and the thirst for knowledge. 7 years later she has a Masters from Leeds and a Phd from Imperial in a science subject. She’s been offered high paid jobs, but doesn’t want to rush into it and is yet to decide. She doesn’t want to be a celebrity or influencer and has nothing but disdain for them. She would rather pursue hard work and meritocracy for a happy and fulfilling life and possibly give something back to society. I couldn’t be more proud. She loves climbing, but currently it’s taken a back seat.

2
 Mark Bannan 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> ... What then? A 50 year old burger flipper with some memories of Elvis leg, ripped waterproofs and cold bivvies...

...and brown trousers!

 colinakmc 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Dax H:

> He didn't listen, I know you will all find this hard to believe but he never made it as a celebrity DJ and last I heard he was a coffee slinger at a Costa. 

I used to know a careers officer who as part of his job interviewed a young girl in Dennistoun who announced that she was going to be a pop singer. Harry said, you need to be realistic, why don’t I fix you up with an interview at the Wills factory (the cigarette factory at the top of the road)

Bit under a year later she was on Top of the Pops…she was Lulu.

 robate 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

I was pretty obsessed with climbing at one time but had a sneaking awareness of it at the time. I have never regretted climbing though, not once, nor my science degree which while never a passion has been no end of help in getting good work. It doesn't have to be one thing or the other, the middle path is good too, I guess I agree with you, but you need to find your inner guru to explain it. To start with look at that last comment again; along with many people I don't think babies are shite.

1
 Kevster 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

I haven't used my degree excessively. 

I've bummed round the world for 2-3 years. 

Sofa surfed on mates floors for a few years too.

I can say the above times are amongst my best times. Not all successes are measured in money past present and future 

I know I have not fulfilled my academic or working potentials. But who honestly does in a balanced human being kinda way?

I've made some amazing friends though climbing. Can't say the same for the work place.... 

Years gone by it was go inter railing, or round the world plane ticket. A year in a camper climbing lots. Is it really bad?

Let the kid enjoy being a kid imo. Not everyone is the sun in the sky, burning the brightest. There's plenty of other stars out there too. 

 babymoac 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Work to live, or live to work ?

2
 rachelpearce01 27 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

I feel quite the opposite. I once glimpsed normality recently when I went to visit an old school friend I hadn’t seen for years. I went round to her house which she had just bought with a mortgage, admired her matching curtains and cushions, met her boyfriend who lived over the road in the smart estate. Asked their plans for the weekend, “oh maybe stick some new cupboards up”, what do you do for fun “we go to the karaoke night at the local every Friday, get in the jacuzzi, dog walks”…

I left feeling thoroughly depressed and sick to the stomach at what normal life looked like! Climbing makes me feel alive, purposeful, and let’s other life worries disappear for a time. 

14
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Cost me a marriage in my late twenties...I carried on climbing but les and less seriously.n

In my 40s I took up caving due to crap winter weather. Now in my 50s I've been  with a caver and step family for 10 years. 

So yes, climbing has had its cost but probably no more so than booze and music. 

I'm a happy... Pretty much. I've an OK job, but I've never been "career" driven. 

​​

 artif 28 Jun 2022
In reply to rachelpearce01:

>

> I left feeling thoroughly depressed and sick to the stomach at what normal life looked like! Climbing makes me feel alive, purposeful, and let’s other life worries disappear for a time. 

Yep, late starter on the kid / housing ladder, first mortgage in late forties (4 years ago), never been so unsatisfied. No wonder depression is at an all time high. Going to some peoples houses makes me so uncomfortable, magnolia everywhere, carpet slippers, "nice" ornaments and absolutely no evidence of a life lived.

Work, pay bills, work, pay bills, work, pay bills, go to pub ad nauseum, all they brag about is how pissed they got and how they cant remember what they did last weekend

Had a conversation with a colleague at work, about how you can get different sized wedges for your window latches and how much money he'd saved by changing them (yes, he tracks his power usage and energy bills on a weekly basis), I'll add he and his partner are mortgage free and both are in well paid jobs, apart from drinking to oblivion every weekend, his life really is that dull.

Fortunately I get to play a bit (climbing is a minor activity these days) and we live in a great area for my other pastimes, I certainly don't get the need for a comfortable vanilla life though

To the OP, do you think your business would have been more or less successful, without your climbing experiences/lifestyle.

3
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Chances are he is on the wrong course. This happened to me. Spent most of my three years climbing and arsing about and failed me degree with flying colours. A bunch of my friends moved to Sheffield (mid 80s) and had a ball - their climbing ability shot up and they all appeared happy and “successful”.  I may have well done the same. 

During my Sunderland Poly exit interview I said I wanted to be involved in outdoor education. They literally laughed at this. Ended up working in an outdoor centre in the lakes. Brilliant, loved it. This eventually led to me doing a different degree which I loved, an interesting but not overly well paid caret path, wife and family. Not climbed  all in last ten years (partly injury related)

I live in one of those modernish housing middle class housing estates full of boring people. My best mates are still those I met as a climber.  And climbing and it’s lifestyle gives you tonnes of skills that really help.  Let him do it. Chances are the bank of mum will run out of cash anyway ? 

 Uncle Derek 28 Jun 2022
In reply to rachelpearce01:

> I left feeling thoroughly depressed and sick to the stomach at what normal life looked like! Climbing makes me feel alive, purposeful, and let’s other life worries disappear for a time. 

That is a very interesting and insightful comment. I was at a Buddhist retreat at the weekend and was chatting with a Buddhist teacher, and I told him about climbing, and that one of the best things about climbing is that it forces you into the "Now", I can get into the "Now" on a VS, maybe you need an E5, but it is possibly the same thing. He said, you mean like being in the zone when wanging a motorbike down the road. Yes I said.
I then asked him if a Buddhist should climb or ride fast motorbikes.
He said obviously you can do as you wish, but if you get your mind in the right place, you should not need the escape of these things, because ultimately you will always have to return. He used a medical analogy, which I forget, but it was something like, climbing is just a sticking plaster, not a cure.
Maybe many climbers are running away from something, but not really sure what they are running to.

7
 nikoid 28 Jun 2022
In reply to rachelpearce01:

> I feel quite the opposite. I once glimpsed normality recently when I went to visit an old school friend I hadn’t seen for years. I went round to her house which she had just bought with a mortgage, admired her matching curtains and cushions, met her boyfriend who lived over the road in the smart estate. Asked their plans for the weekend, “oh maybe stick some new cupboards up”, what do you do for fun “we go to the karaoke night at the local every Friday, get in the jacuzzi, dog walks”…

> I left feeling thoroughly depressed and sick to the stomach at what normal life looked like! Climbing makes me feel alive, purposeful, and let’s other life worries disappear for a time. 

I think we can all be a bit scathing about other people's choices. As climbers we like to think we are somehow enlightened by our lifestyle. Your normal friends just have different values, to them the very thought of climbing is anathema. A bit like golf or amateur dramatics is to me.

You are clearly a dedicated successful climber operating at a high level (Strawberries!) who is enjoying life and I assume you don't have a career in the conventional sense. I would be interested to know what your plan is for later years when comfort and security inevitably become more of a consideration.

 neilh 28 Jun 2022
In reply to nikoid:

Mick Fowler managed to combine both very successfully.

I agree with your comments about being scathing about others.  You really never know their backgrounds.

 Jamie Wakeham 28 Jun 2022
In reply to colinakmc:

> Bit under a year later she was on Top of the Pops…she was Lulu.

Pretty much everyone who has advised young people on their careers has one story like that.  I had the (mis)fortune to teach a young lad who now earns quite a lot of money to kick a football around.

The thing is, we only ever have one such story!

In reply to Uncle Derek:

>... ...you should not need the escape of these things, because ultimately you will always have to return

Tell him to stop meditating then, for all the same reasons  

Some people may climb to run away or avoid stuff, but some of us do it because we enjoy it and it enriches the whole of our being/life. If he gives you advice on whether people [Buddhist or otherwise] should climb without any reference to their motivation, perhaps you need a new Buddhist teacher?

2
 65 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> The thing is, we only ever have one such story!

Indeed. I was introduced a shy, pretty young woman called Jo at a party in Edinburgh c.25 years ago and am ashamed to admit that I thought, "Yeah, good luck with that," when she said she was writing a children's fantasy novel.

 peppermill 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Sounds like your family member needs the Bank of Mum to cut the funding so he can learn a few things the hard way.

However.

Speaking as someone who went the career route and did well through my 20s (and still managed a lot of climbing) it can be just as unhealthy going the other way. After 10 years I found myself less and less interested in doing the same thing until I retire despite it being the best option financially and ended up retraining completely. The only regret is I have is wasting two years talking myself out of it.

Probably needs to work out what he wants. Are his current studies in a worthwhile subject? Or worthwhile to him (e.g. a med student that has realised medicine is just not for him)?

 peppermill 28 Jun 2022
In reply to ChrisLeigh19:

> I don't really know how this will fit into the thread, but I've had to do A levels (or not do them) as well as 2 years of uni during covid and I can honestly say they've been the worst years of my life. Many times I seriously contemplated doing *anything* that wasn't sitting in a room by myself watching last years recorded lectures on a laptop.

> Climbing has been the sole positive in all of this, and I personally wish I pushed uni back a year to climb around the country.

Good point. I think many of us on here are forgetting how much a lot of university study since March 2020 has sucked and involved sitting in a room on a laptop watching a teams lecture or whatever. Any wonder someone in their early 20s wanting to get out in the world thinks "fck this"

 neilh 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

I think there is a chapter in that book Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneham about people's irrational choices along those lines. It starts of by asking why very few drug delaers are wealthy and explains that most earn very little money and scrape by and are enticed by the glamour of the big payout. But hardly anyone gets the big payout.Its the same principle with alot of other creative industries and sport.

Well worth reading.

 compost 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

... was chatting with a Buddhist teacher, and I told him about climbing, and that one of the best things about climbing is that it forces you into the "Now"

I have a friend like this. Early 40s, worked on and off in an outdoor shop, climbs a lot, surfs a bit, struggles to hold down permanent jobs because he lives in the now. He has enjoyed himself but is now realising that the friends whose spare rooms he crashes in are all converting those spare rooms to nurseries, the property rental market has gone a bit mad, he can't get a mortgage, his friends and girlfriends are 15 years younger and he's suddenly alone and worried.

Quite where he'll be in another 10 years is anyone's guess.

Post edited at 10:44
 Forest Dump 28 Jun 2022
In reply to peppermill:

My job has largely turned into the same, 100% laptop / homeworking. While I enjoy the nature of my role and the sector its in I often find myself thinking fk this for the next 20+ years plus 

It must be unimaginably dull for someone in their early 20s!!! And paying handsomely for the privilege too..

Post edited at 10:45
1
 Forest Dump 28 Jun 2022
In reply to compost:

That's an OK position to be in late 20s/early 30s but no later

5
In reply to Kevster:

> Let the kid enjoy being a kid imo. Not everyone is the sun in the sky, burning the brightest. There's plenty of other stars out there too. 

This isn't a gap year being talked about, this is a long-term lifestyle.

4
 Uncle Derek 28 Jun 2022
In reply to compost:

> Quite where he'll be in another 10 years is anyone's guess.

Sat in a monastery, with a shaven head, wearing a purple bed sheet, with a goofy grin. 🤣

In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> The thing is, we only ever have one such story!

There are hundreds of thousands of kids who are going to be sports/rock/DJ/YouTube star's. I would love to know the % that make it. 

Follow your dream, shoot for the moon. The only way to guarantee it won't be you is if you don't go for it. But have a plan B. 

In reply to compost:

> girlfriends are 15 years younger 

So not all bad then!

4
 Jamie Wakeham 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Dax H:

> Follow your dream, shoot for the moon. The only way to guarantee it won't be you is if you don't go for it. But have a plan B. 

Oh, absolutely.  It's the lack of plan B that is the problem.  This kid left with, if I recall, two or three low passes at GCSE, and for him that's no issue at all.  But it is for the vast majority who aren't going to get a premier league contract / five album recording deal / vastly popular youtube channel.

 compost 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> So not all bad then!

It has its perks! tbh it's now getting a bit creepy though

 Sealwife 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Do most people have a Plan B?  Or even a Plan A?

Neither Mr S or I ever have.  We both spent a lot of years doing things which could be considered wasteful - I was an artists model for years, he drifted round Europe and North Africa for a while then played in a band, mostly touring in a Transit and recording in studios and living in squats.

Fun lifestyle for a while, but not sustainable long term.  We both drifted into normal jobs, and now live very conventional lives.  Neither of us have any regrets about having time living more unusual lifestyles for a while and are hoping to at least partly-resurrect it when we retire shortly.

 RobAJones 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Dax H:

> There are hundreds of thousands of kids who are going to be sports/rock/DJ/YouTube star's. I would love to know the % that make it. 

Probably because I taught for longer/in more schools than Jamie I could list a handful rather than one. Not sure what counts as 'making it' I don't count an ex-student who made it to the X factor finals any more than a friend who has an ex-student currently on Love Island, but many of the the pupils in the schools thought/think they had/have. 

> Follow your dream, shoot for the moon. The only way to guarantee it won't be you is if you don't go for it. But have a plan B. 

I think a plan B is almost as  important, for the long term happiness, of those who "make it" 

 peppermill 28 Jun 2022
In reply to rachelpearce01:

> I feel quite the opposite. I once glimpsed normality recently when I went to visit an old school friend I hadn’t seen for years. I went round to her house which she had just bought with a mortgage, admired her matching curtains and cushions, met her boyfriend who lived over the road in the smart estate. Asked their plans for the weekend, “oh maybe stick some new cupboards up”, what do you do for fun “we go to the karaoke night at the local every Friday, get in the jacuzzi, dog walks”…

> I left feeling thoroughly depressed and sick to the stomach at what normal life looked like! Climbing makes me feel alive, purposeful, and let’s other life worries disappear for a time. 

Heh heh. Wasn't this kind of thing the basis for the film "Fight Club"?

 compost 28 Jun 2022
In reply to RobAJones:

> I think a plan B is almost as  important, for the long term happiness, of those who "make it" 

This ^ 

My wife is a teacher and had a kid who left to join the academy of a premier league football team and 'home school' at the club. He was the brightest kid in the class with good prospects but wanted to be a footballer. Made it through the academy until it was time to sign professional papers and he was cut (for being too small iirc). Mooched around non- and lower-league football for a bit and is now an electrician's apprentice. I'm not saying he's not happy, but he didn't stick with his education, didn't get many GCSEs and didn't have a plan.

1
 RobAJones 28 Jun 2022
In reply to compost:

Having read Sealwife's post I think she has a point and the Plan B implies just one other option rather than having an open mind and being receptive to new ideas/experiences.  Someone like Laura Muir obviously has a Plan B but she is still very much the exception, not sure what Raducanu will do after playing tennis competitively but you get the impression she has other interests, money obviously won't be a problem but then it isn't for Mason Greenwood. 

In reply to peppermill:

> Heh heh. Wasn't this kind of thing the basis for the film "Fight Club"?

We don't talk about that.

 Sealwife 28 Jun 2022
In reply to RobAJones:

Totally for keeping mind open to new ideas and experiences.

18 years ago, we were living quietly, I was pregnant with 2nd child, both of us in ok but fairly unfulfilling jobs, plans to extend our house to cope with imminent new arrival in hand.  Other half sees job advertised on island where we now live.  Applied for it, thinking it would be good application practise, not even expecting an interview.  Upshot was, we moved six weeks later, to a place where I had no job, knew nobody and had only ever visited briefly on holiday years earlier.

Totally unexpected, not in any plan, no regrets at all.  Sometimes it’s good to give everything a good shake up.   It keeps life fresh and interesting.

1
 dread-i 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

I heard about some young lads from Liverpool. Rather than taking the sensible career path, down the docks, they were into playing music. Spending their youth in dodgy, smelly, clubs, playing tunes to druggies and oddballs.

Guess what? I saw one of them on tv the other day. Playing music in a muddy field, to a bunch of druggies and oddballs. Sixty years later and nothings changed; most of his life wasted. And what does he have to show for it? I bet he doesn't have an executive corner office or a parking space with his name on it. No doubt he's regretting his life choices now.

People need to learn from their mistakes. And perhaps their mistakes are not really mistakes after all, but still learning experiences none the less. As long as they are not hurting themselves or others, its a good start.

In reply to dread-i:

Anything is better than working down the docks.

2
In reply to rachelpearce01:

> I feel quite the opposite. I once glimpsed normality recently when I went to visit an old school friend I hadn’t seen for years. I went round to her house which she had just bought with a mortgage, admired her matching curtains and cushions, met her boyfriend who lived over the road in the smart estate. Asked their plans for the weekend, “oh maybe stick some new cupboards up”, what do you do for fun “we go to the karaoke night at the local every Friday, get in the jacuzzi, dog walks”…

> I left feeling thoroughly depressed and sick to the stomach at what normal life looked like! Climbing makes me feel alive, purposeful, and let’s other life worries disappear for a time. 

I can't climb as hard as I'd like anymore, but mountain biking brings something to life which isn't present in the everyday.  A friend and his ex used to live similarly to what you describe, in a none judgemental way it made me think of 'a living death'. 

Whatever makes people happy in the end, but more dimensions to life has got to be good...

Post edited at 18:26
 ExiledScot 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> I post this because a young member of my family has decided that he will now give up his studies to pursue climbing. He's ok as a climber but not great, actually rather mediocre. It feels like a wasted opportunity. Climbing in conjunction with life is great. Climbing as a be all and end all is, unless you are very good, He wants to spend the next 30 years climbing and living as a climbing bum. 

But if that's what they want they'll be happy, they aren't you, you need your own plan not theirs.

Note. What's mediocre, guide level cruising e2/3, v/vi ? Can ski? Good company and social skills, start young, it's as good a career choice as any other. 

Post edited at 18:40
 Shani 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Survivorship Bias! Another good example of this is the Lottery. If people were generally good with numbers the Lottery would not exist (yes, I play it!).

1
 ExiledScot 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Shani:

> Survivorship Bias! Another good example of this is the Lottery. If people were generally good with numbers the Lottery would not exist (yes, I play it!).

Apparently during recessions scratch card sales increase, desperation out competing logic! 

In reply to ExiledScot:

> Apparently during recessions scratch card sales increase, desperation out competing logic! 

That's rather unfortunate. 

 George_Surf 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Honestly, I thought this post was a wind up?! Yeah climbing is pointless, but so are most things in life. At a basic level animals are there to procreate? Life’s there for living, you’re on a ticking clock and if you’re not leading a fulfilled life and enjoying yourself then you’re doing it wrong. What this means varies between who you ask. Some want a brand new car every 3 years and sky tv with all the channels, 2 weeks in Dubai a year etc... at the end of the day as far as I’m concerned life is about experiences and people. Climbing brings me both in abundance. I’ve a reasonable job working as little as we can get away with but with still being able to think about the long term. As someone else mentioned, balance is the key. One things for sure, if you sit the tee doing what the vast majority of the population are doing  I’ve a bad feeling life will pass you by before you know  it?!

3
 Maggot 28 Jun 2022
In reply to George_Surf:

To sum up ... if you sign up for the rat race and live in a magnolia painted house and spend your weekends fitting shelves, you're a saddo loser.

But if you go climbing you're WELL cool.

10
 George_Surf 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Maggot:

No not at all. Do whatever you want, just make sure it’s what you want to do. I often find myself thinking how pointless climbing and wondering what it’s all about. I was last week as I was hanging on the first belay on Dinosaur at Gogarth. The thing is the sun was out, the sea was calm, the seals were bobbing around and I was on a little ledge 100ft above the waves with nothing beneath me. Experience-wise it was hard to beat. It was amazing down there! 
 

If magnolia curtains and a 9-5 6 days a week job are your life aspirations then get out there and go have it. I suppose most people if they’re going to regret anything it will be the things they haven’t done as opposed to the things they have. Work is important; it gives you purpose, money (which is essential to support your lifestyle no matter what you do) and lots of other things like a stable routine, social interactions and hopefully it keeps your brain engaged and let’s you exercise some creativity etc 

maybe you could argue climbing and possibly life in general are kinda pointless although I do appreciate if you’re a cancer research scientist or you’re making a massive difference to other people’s lives by being generous and doing something that really helps others out etc then that is very worthwhile for society on the whole. Hopefully everyone’s contributing one way or another, even the little things like holding a door open for someone or helping someone with a bag or something do actually make people feel better. I guess I agree and wholeheartedly disagree with what the OP said initially 

1
 Kevster 28 Jun 2022
In reply to Toerag:

Sorry to throw a little objection, but it may just be a year, it may be 10, it maybe a lifetime. Theres 2 out of 3 options there that represent a win? would I be correct? By the OP's measure. 

Having done a hobby/ pastime as a profession and promptly lost the enthusiasm I had for it as a hobby (thats how I got into climbing as I looked elsewhere), I believe that not all with ambition for a pastime are going to make it stick a lifetime.

From my experience and what I see around me, jobs and careers are all splintered and relatively temporary. Lets not get into marriages and other emotion based relationships within life. 

We all want to impart wisdom. But lets face it, most of our own wisdom has been won or reinforced through our own experiences. 

"dont press the red button" in a room with nothing to do, I bet we'd all have a go for the red button at some point within a lifetime.  Hey, I'd be on that button within a week (maybe less).

I respectfully stand by my suggestion that the person concerned should be allowed to live their own life as they see best. Offer friendship and well intended advice yes, but ultimately its their decision to make -I assume they have the capacity to make their own decisions. 

 rachelpearce01 28 Jun 2022
In reply to nikoid:

To carry on climbing forever 😂

 rachelpearce01 28 Jun 2022
In reply to peppermill:

Yeah I live that film! What’s the quote at the end ? It’s only when you lose everything that you can start living? Something like that

3
In reply to George_Surf:

I remember my Dad mentioning 'Cause as little hurt or harm as possible, enjoy yourself, and make a positive contribution' as an approach to life, when we were musing along those lines following an uncle becoming terminally ill. 

It seems like we ascribe our own meanings to life, Lemmy felt he was contributing by making people feel ten foot tall as he put it at his concerts, and Gordon ascribes meaning in leaving something creative behind. It strikes me that managing to accomplish the first 2, without finding a way to make a positive contribution, is good enough in a utilitarian sense, and if we manage to find meaning or to feel like we're contributing, that's a very welcome thing, but the first two are the main thing. Enjoying oneself or happiness more generally is potentially interlinked with feeling like one is contributing, but we don't all manage to shape life in a way which makes that possible (which might be where things like Buddhism, religion, and drugs/alcohol are found to be useful, to fill any voids or become more tranquil).

Post edited at 21:56
In reply to RobAJones:

To be fair, I think people like Laura Muir have two plan As. Very much in the spirit of amateur athletes of the past. It probably helps that whilst she makes a good living from Athletics, it doesn't offer the riches of football. I also don't know her family background, but I suspect it is comfortably middle class and the attraction of Athletics is less about economic escape than it is for many prospective footballers or perhaps worse boxers.

I'm involved in grassroots Athletics. Of the very good, but not world class athletes that I know, none are making a living directly from the sport, but quite a few secured scholarships to US universities, I know others working in running shops.

 RobAJones 29 Jun 2022
In reply to The New NickB:

> To be fair, I think people like Laura Muir have two plan As.

Very probably, although I wonder how she would have coped with not getting a university offer. I remember her being interviewed after finishing 5th? at the world championships? a few years ago. Unless she is also a talented actor she seemed genuinely really happy with her performance and positive about the future, given the injury? issues she had had during her preparation. 

>Very much in the spirit of amateur athletes of the past. It probably helps that whilst she makes a good living from Athletics, it doesn't offer the riches of football.

Jamie Roberts also springs to mind, now that Rugby is professional will there be others like him? 

>I also don't know her family background, but I suspect it is comfortably middle class and the attraction of Athletics is less about economic escape

Similar to climbing? 

>than it is for many prospective footballers or perhaps worse boxers.

At least climbing and running are generally not detrimental to your health when to get older. I find it sad/disturbing to see boxers who should have earned millions in their prime still fighting in their 50's and 60's. Not sure how much of that is about a  earning more money or that they haven't found anything fulfilling to replace boxing. 

 Rob Exile Ward 29 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Interesting topic. I left university with a good degree that has in fact proved absolutely useless at getting jobs, but at least it didn't cost me any money and I had a great time getting it! I would really discourage anyone from going to university nowadays unless they're really keen on their subjects - my daughter graduated last year with a first and even she isn't sure she did the right thing, spending £x thousands and not having much fun.

After university I found myself in the Alps, vaguely thinking of climbing as some sort of career choice, although I don't think Brits guiding was so much of a thing back then (it seems a good little earner nowadays). In the event I  genuinely began to feel that I wanted to participate in society rather than be on the periphery. Working, starting businesses, employing people, creating stuff, having kids has done that, even if I do regret that I didn't climb just a bit more...

I think people ought to be a little bit more respectful about others' life choices as well, being dismissive of other people who prefer different things from you is quite unpleasant and life-limiting. I have a friend who has more or less given up climbing in favour of golf - how b-o-r-i-n-g is that? Except that he plays golf to a much higher standard than most on here climb, he's bl**dy good and can ignore the bullsh*t aspects and just enjoy playing (and winning - who doesn't?). Or my brother - been an accountant all his life, has an immaculate house which he is rightly proud of, and 2 grown up children successful in their personal and professional lives. B-o-r-i-n-g. Except in all this he has sustained a road racing career for 65 years, and at 78 still thinks a 100 mile trip round the Trough of Bowland is an 'easy day for a lady.'  Diff'rent folks, diff'rent strokes.

 LastBoyScout 29 Jun 2022
In reply to nikoid:

Absolutely. My wife did lots of work at home in the evenings and, therefore, got higher up the career ladder than I have (completely different job, too).

On the other hand, I've got instructor qualifications in 2 sports and have done a lot of things she hasn't.

So, swings and roundabouts.

 Offwidth 29 Jun 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

>I tend to agree, climbing isn't good for careers, relationships and the general ought to do things.

It was good for mine  (kept me sane in a difficult and busy job) and cemented my relationship. As a couple, our general 'ought to do' ticklish isn't so bad even though we think a lot put in that category is overrated.

Education is important but it can be paused (or even facilitated by a Uni in a climbing area). Yet the young face a difficult looking future and trying to force them to buy into a failing system seems both futile and wrong. They need to find a way to surf the waves and maintain a conscience.

1
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I think people ought to be a little bit more respectful about others' life choices as well, being dismissive of other people who prefer different things from you is quite unpleasant and life-limiting. I have a friend who has more or less given up climbing in favour of golf - how b-o-r-i-n-g is that? Except that he plays golf to a much higher standard than most on here climb, he's bl**dy good and can ignore the bullsh*t aspects and just enjoy playing (and winning - who doesn't?). Or my brother - been an accountant all his life, has an immaculate house which he is rightly proud of, and 2 grown up children successful in their personal and professional lives. B-o-r-i-n-g. Except in all this he has sustained a road racing career for 65 years, and at 78 still thinks a 100 mile trip round the Trough of Bowland is an 'easy day for a lady.'  Diff'rent folks, diff'rent strokes.

A very very good point, re respecting others' life choices, though I find it interesting that the people you mention do channel themselves into something which isn't 'just living'. Saying that, perhaps the people who are happy just doing nothing in particular are actually to be envied for their tranquility.

Post edited at 13:36
In reply to Le Sapeur:

If you want to encourage him down the climbing drifter route, show him the thread ‘posh paint brands’  

 robate 29 Jun 2022
In reply to Timmd:

I totally agree about respecting other paths. However I'm not sure if this point has been emphasised but I'm pretty clear that we all have a window of just a few years when the flame burns clean and we can practice any sport remotely well; miss it and nothing brings it back, no amount of money, no amount of dedication. If a young climber says they want to go for ever maybe they're just recognizing that this is the time.

This from Harold Drasdo in 'The Ordinary Route' about Wall End Barn, 'I look at it now and a spear of grief runs through me.. irrecoverable youth ... It's all over now'

1
 redjerry 29 Jun 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Life can take a person in so many different directions, so I would never try to generalize.
But for me, climbing has been an incredibly positive influence on my life and work career. The best thing I ever did was fully commit to climbing when I was 24.

 Climbandwine 30 Jun 2022
In reply to compost:

"I have a friend like this. Early 40s, worked on and off in an outdoor shop, climbs a lot, surfs a bit, struggles to hold down permanent jobs because he lives in the now. He has enjoyed himself but is now realising that the friends whose spare rooms he crashes in are all converting those spare rooms to nurseries, the property rental market has gone a bit mad, he can't get a mortgage, his friends and girlfriends are 15 years younger and he's suddenly alone and worried.

Quite where he'll be in another 10 years is anyone's guess."

Why do we care about age so much? So what if someone in their 40s works in a climbing shop? What's wrong with having friends/relationships with others who are 15 years younger?? 

Post edited at 08:55
 compost 30 Jun 2022
In reply to Climbandwine:

I agree - to a point

Irregular work and ageing are a concern because a lack of qualifying NI years for state pension and a lack of any contribution pension means he'll need to work until he drops (and certainly couldn't support any kids if they come along from the current broody girlfriend)

3
In reply to Uncle Derek:

> > 

> That is a very interesting and insightful comment. I was at a Buddhist retreat at the weekend and was chatting with a Buddhist teacher, and I told him about climbing, and that one of the best things about climbing is that it forces you into the "Now", I can get into the "Now" on a VS, maybe you need an E5, but it is possibly the same thing. He said, you mean like being in the zone when wanging a motorbike down the road. Yes I said.

> I then asked him if a Buddhist should climb or ride fast motorbikes.

> He said obviously you can do as you wish, but if you get your mind in the right place, you should not need the escape of these things, because ultimately you will always have to return. He used a medical analogy, which I forget, but it was something like, climbing is just a sticking plaster, not a cure.

> Maybe many climbers are running away from something, but not really sure what they are running to.

I see us all as trying to return to childhood, which is a state of 'constant now', or more so than adulthood. Books, and climbing, and drugs, all take us into a state of 'now' in different ways. 

Post edited at 13:01
In reply to Climbandwine:

We care about age because we're going to die at some point, and before that become infirm to a certain degree (but hopefully not too infirm), it's definitely true that maturity and different human qualities don't correlate with age though. 

In reply to neilh:

> I interview too many 50 year olds who made wrong choices and are now in basically stuck in dead end jobs and are looking for a way out...you can see it in their faces. they know they have screwed up and there is little hope of something more fulfilling.

> And remember. You only hear about the ones who have made something of it. Most people hide their failures.

I seem to see a lot of sad/dissatisfied seeming people working in the shops round the corner from my home. Some are happy in their work, but they seem to be the exceptions who stand out.

Post edited at 14:22
In reply to Climbandwine:

> Why do we care about age so much? So what if someone in their 40s works in a climbing shop? What's wrong with having friends/relationships with others who are 15 years younger?? 

I was tidying up and found myself thinking that it could be a reflection of where he's at in his life situation, it can happen that we gravitate towards people in similar circumstances (for good and bad reasons), it might be that it's people 10 or 15 years younger than him who are still more responsibility free, compared to his friends his own age.

'Whatever works' is the ultimate rule in life though, without suffering due to being poor or unhealthy as a result of lifestyle.

Post edited at 16:33
 Uncle Derek 01 Jul 2022
In reply to Timmd:

> I see us all as trying to return to childhood, which is a state of 'constant now', or more so than adulthood. Books, and climbing, and drugs, all take us into a state of 'now' in different ways. 

I am sorry, I usually agree with much of what you say, but on this, not. Books transport me to a different place, Alcohol is an escape, and only done drugs once, a spliff in a coffee shop in Amsterdam, and I sure was not in the Now then, but climbing, absolutely forces me into the Now, and is totally addictive, well it is for me.

In reply to Uncle Derek:

That's a good point, its more that they're an escape from 'thinking about adulthood'.

Post edited at 20:29
 seanhendo123 02 Jul 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Depends what you want from life....Obviously climbing as much as possible is going to be a handicap to having a 'good' career but personally time spent doing the things you love is far more important than furthering a career. Its all a balance, making more money in general just allows you to have more/newer/shinier/bigger shit you don't actually need and takes time (most valuable currency even if employers would have you think otherwise) away from family and friends doing things you want to. There is a certain level of things that most people will require/want which will dictate a certain level of income but that is very personal and a lot of what we 'need' is just driven by capitalist ideals especially in the modern world of social media. Most of my friends have more/far more disposable income, newer cars, bigger houses etc than me, does that mean they are happier? or am I happier than them? Its totally personal and what makes other happy wont make you happy. Personally I spend more of my time with my family and doing what I love at the cost of making less money.....I'm only here once, f@$k wasting any more time than absolutely necessary at work.

.......Cutting the bank of mum and dad is probably the best way to ensure they can follow whatever path they choose in a sustainable way, until then its a holiday, and who wouldn't stay on holiday for weeks/months/years if they were being bank rolled to do so.

Post edited at 14:09
1
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> Seeing many 40+ year olds working in climbing shops my worry is he does just that.

And if he's happy, so what? So many people seem to think that work and career is the be-all and end-all - the only real measure of success of a life. Many other people are perfectly happy not having great career ambitions, working in a shop and earning enough to get by, and spending their free time doing something that they actually enjoy - and it confuses me that they're looked down on like that's not a valid life choice.

Personally, I'd rather work as little as possible and do as many fun things as possible - but each to their own. Each to their own.

 wintertree 06 Jul 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Ask a question, don’t like the answers, quit UKC?

I never understood it when someone asks a question and doesn’t want to hear people’s answers.

1
 Petrafied 07 Jul 2022
In reply to wintertree:

> Ask a question, don’t like the answers, quit UKC?

> I never understood it when someone asks a question and doesn’t want to hear people’s answers.

I see no evidence that he quit because he didn't like the answers.

In reply to Le Sapeur:

I think it’s good to differentiate between climbing as a lifestyle and climbing as a sport. I’ve had a long and successful ‘proper’ career. However, I managed it so I could climb whenever I wanted, take as many trips as I liked. A career never stopped me climbing, and supported my love of climbing. I did the lifestyle bit in my early 20s, and it had got very old by the time everyone was bailing out of the Stoney woodshed. So basically, no a career doesn’t have to do anything but support your climbing, but ‘being a climbing bum’ is a completely different thing.

 Howard J 08 Jul 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

I agree with Paul_in_Sheffield.  This is sometimes presented as a choice between climbing and a dead-end job, but it might be a fulfilling job which still allows the time and provides the cash to do other things.  I too have had a reasonably successful and moderately well-paid professional career while at the same time fitting in climbing and walking, as well as side-hustle as a musician.  Perhaps I could have done even better at my career if I had focussed on it entirely, but that would have meant sacrificing things I enjoy. 

I was never good enough to be a professional climber, and the life of a climbing bum has never appealed. However I might have been just good enough to scrape a sort of living as a third-rate professional musician, but earning peanuts and with little time or money to go climbing.

I feel it's worked out pretty well for me. I was lucky to find a job I could enjoy (most of the time!) but it provided me with financial stability, and I've still had a lot of fun and adventures from both climbing and music.


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