To Climb or Not to Climb

When X and I left for Alaska, we left many items behind, stored in my parents’ garage. Some of them slowly made their way to Alaska over the years, but there are still many items here. This week I started going through them, starting to figure out what to keep and what to donate or trash.

I thought I was done with this process when I sold my house back west. But here I am, again trying to decide what to do with the crap X left behind. Per the separation agreement, what is in my possession belongs to me. X never asked for any of the items here at my parents’ so I don’t feel particularly obligated to give it back to him. So far I have found a couple of items that I will give to his mother, such as his eagle scout badges. But I’ve also found a bunch of climbing gear – guide books to climbing destinations around the country, a crash pad, some cams. I do not feel any obligation to return those to him or his mother. The thought occurred to me that maybe I could give them to my cousin, who is a climber.

Then, I went to bed and dreamed of being a climber myself. I dreamed that I decided to use the climbing gear to take up climbing, without any expectations from him, without any comparison or pressure from him. Just because it was fun, made me feel strong, and got me outside. And in my dream, I actually really liked it!

I’m not sure this is what I will do with his stuff. To me, climbing is X, as it was such an important part of his life. More important than me, really. And why would I start? As some sort of revenge? To be weirdly connected to him? As some sort of independence from him? I don’t know. I hadn’t really considered it when I was cleaning out his stuff. But the dream really did raise some important questions for me. How do I break free of him while being free to pursue whatever life I want, even if there is some overlap? Is this even something I actually want or was it just some kind of weird revenge fantasy that doesn’t involve him actually knowing about it? I will admit, the idea of trying climbing without him intrigues me…

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