The trajectory should have gone like this: drive west, climb some rocks, drink a beer, and go back home to NYC. I had every intention of going back to the east coast; I just needed to stretch my legs for a few weeks. This is how it actually went: drive west, wander the desert, unintentionally quit my job/life/leave NYC forever, and get whisked away into a completely unplanned adventure.

I suddenly found myself without a life preserver, without a backup plan.

But that’s okay.

Ouray Ice Park. Photograph by Savannah Cummins

It’s okay because I’ve decided that I want a 5.13 life. With that pursuit in mind, I am forced to deal with the fact that with it comes as many failures as it will successes. The love of challenge is what triggers my insecurities as much as it feeds my soul.

I started feeling like a big fish in a little pond but then I ventured to places unfamiliar only to realize I am actually a tiny sea urchin in a vast ocean. I am barely kelp. My goal was never to become a shark, though.

I found myself in Salt Lake City for a brief period of time and took a drive with Katie Thorup to Joe’s Valley for the first time. Katie is not only one of the most psyched climbers I’ve met but one of my favorite new people. She introduced me to Butterfinger doughnuts at the Food Ranch (a life changing event).

But most importantly, she reminded me of MY reasons for climbing in the first place.

I’m leaving SLC but not entirely sure where I’m off to next, which is scary. But I know that I’m going to be the little fish in a big pond for a little while. The goal was never to become a shark but maybe this year, a very tiny and magical seahorse. I think I could be a seahorse.

Perfect temps in Joe’s Valley. Photograph by Jon Vickers

Anybody can have a 5.13 life. It’s about not getting stuck in cycles and unraveling the pattern so that you can understand the way the world works around you, and then how you can work with the rest of the world. A 5.13 life is about waking up motivated, even though some mornings you don’t want to get out of bed. A 5.13 life is about allowing yourself to feel emotions (even the shitty ones) and letting other people feel what they are going to feel (because they are going to, regardless) and making peace with that. A 5.13 life is about being afraid and going ahead with it anyway because even if you’re scared and even though it hurts, you’re growing. You’re changing. You’re evolving. You are facing problems and being forced to solve them. You are moving with each and every rise and fall; forget the goal and find the flow of the moment. Answers come then.

A 5.13 life is not about making money. It’s about making art. It’s about getting off route sometimes and finding your way back, with a better head and more fight in you. A 5.13 life is about being good to you.

3 thoughts

  1. Killer, dude. “…not about making money. It’s about making art.”
    Thanks for the great words. It was so good to meet you and I hope I see you again before long.

    -Matt D.
    (Danny and Ashley’s friend)

  2. Wow… So the strangest thing happened, and call me crazy, but I woke up last night at 5.13 and decided there was significance to it. I looked it up, and up came this article. I’ve been having a personal struggle in life recently from being stuck in cycles and not feeling I’m getting the most from life, this article was amazing to read!! This is so inspiring, I think I was truly meant to read it. Thank you ☆

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