• Tan Elise

My reflections inspired by Bouldering on 1 Jan 2022



I was so determined to start the year right, by exercising on the very first day of the year. I arranged for a bouldering session with a friend at 9.30 o'clock in the morning!


It was an almost impossible task to roll out of bed. I'm proud to share that I did not just that, but also cycled 3km to the bouldering location. I have rock climbed before but it was my first time bouldering. The idea of not having a harness made me a bit nervous.


Thanks to my friend who had been bouldering for the past year, I had a mini crash course before mounting the wall. I was pleasantly surprised that the lack of harness wasn't that bad. As long as I climb down carefully and land safely on the crash mattress.


Another way how bouldering differs from rock climbing is that each time you climb, you will be embarking on a specific route that the designer has thoughtfully designed. The cool thing is that the route is numbered and the rocks are coloured based on the level of difficulty. Usually a newbie will start with the routes numbered below 10 and then slowly work his/ her way up.


My Takeaways


After two hours of climbing, slipping and falling, I realised that no matter how hard I try, or how much help or advice my friend gave me, the highest number I could scale is 14. No amount of pre-climbing strategizing or trying to hack by watching others who scale successfully would help as well.


It dawned on me that the only way I can advance is to work on myself -- physically on my core, my flexibility and my arm strength, psychologically to overcome my fear of falling and mentally on the climbing techniques. It would be impossible to jump to the next level without preparing myself for the next level.


Bouldering and Life


I couldn't help but draw the link between bouldering and life. Some of us may be overly optimistic about what we can do, some of us may be underestimating our abilities. It takes time or a challenge to determine the level we are truly at. But at the end of the day, what is even more important is the mindset of humility and growth. We are all works-in-progress and it's okay.

Life is a continuous journey of finding out who we are and improving ourselves, one rock at a time.

And we are not alone. I find it most useful to consult friends who are advisors/ experts to help me scale to the next stage. And they are always so ready to lend a hand. One day, I will also be on the other side, lending my help.


Trials and Tribulations are tough but they help inform you of what you are made of


Another revelation I had was related to how the designer of the route has intentionally created a unique experience for the climber. The designer might want the climber to be stretching their legs wide, or their entire body vertically, testing the strength of their fingers etc. And this is how life's trials and tribulations are designed to be, ain't they? We know it's going to be hard but in choosing to climb on, we would have a better understanding of our strengths, or weaknesses. It's an interesting, yet humbling activity.


Two days after the bouldering exercise, I'm still aching in my shoulders. To me, it's a good revelation though, I now know where my weaknesses lie and I can now work on them. I have been wishing my family and friends a better 2022. Interestingly, for me, I know that 2022 may not be better than 2021 but at least I know I will become a better person. :)

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