My husband likes to rock climb. I mean, he really likes to rock climb. He pores over guidebooks and climbing routes, he studies rock faces and spires. I think he might even dream about rocks. Recently, the question of “why?” has come up in conversations between us and with some other climbers—“why does he like to climb rocks?” “Why do climbers in general like to climb rocks?” “Why do certain climbers like to climb certain types of rock climbing routes, and others prefer to climb other types of rock climbing routes?” [for example climbing a boulder versus climbing an entire mountain from bottom to top (my husband prefers the latter)].
These questions may seem ridiculous—they are similar to asking me why I prefer to draw with black ink instead of painting, or why one person enjoys playing basketball and another prefers cross stitching. But what I found most interesting about the answers to these questions is the base level answer—certain people like to climb rocks because when they’re doing it, they lose all sense of themselves—they’re completely focused on what they’re doing in that moment.
This answer made me realize more specifically, something I had vaguely realized, read, and heard previously: the things we most love to do are usually the things that, when we’re doing them, we lose all track of everything else—of time, of place, even of ourselves.
For my husband, one of these activities is rock climbing (and mountain climbing). Perhaps for a downhill skier, one of those activities is, well, skiing, and maybe for a brain surgeon it is being in surgery, completely focused on the next move in the operation.
As I hope you would guess by this blog, for me, one of these activities is making art.
Case in point:
“Winged Pyramid,” 5 x 5 inches, pen and ink
When I was making this drawing I took a trip to triangle land—all I was thinking about was the next line. This is a beautiful thing. I will admit that there are some days when this is not the case—I just can’t get out of myself and even when I’m drawing, my brain is just churning away. But on the whole, when I put pen to paper, I lose myself. This especially happens when I’m drawing something like this pyramid—I have no particular plan so I’m just going at it blindly, trying to build it into something interesting. It also happens when I’m creating new ideas in my head—most often about art or other creative projects. I get so involved with the creative thinking process that I feel almost like I’m floating.
“Hexagon Pyramid,” 5 x 5 inches, pen and ink
I think it is a lucky thing to figure out what it is that truly knocks your socks off. Truthfully, it is something you could build your life around, even if it never ends up translating into a career.
What activities do this for you? What activities cause you to lose yourself, lose track of time, and just get completely focused in the present?