Sophie and I give each other a knowing look after dinner, saying ‘do we have any chocolate?’. I get up and find some stashed away for emergencies and we both smile guiltily. It’s well into 2015 and we are both trying to undo the inevitable Christmas indulgences but it is so easy to break when you’ve got a partner in crime.
My partner in crime
Whether it is staying in bed and missing an early training session, getting out somewhere and just wanting to go back home and chill on the sofa, or crack open that second bar of Oreo stuffed Milka, if you’ve got someone to share the blame with, it is oh so much easier to let go and indulge.
For all the times that Sophie and I facilitate each other’s slipups, however, I know I am incredibly fortunate to share the positives that this criminal partnership brings along. I was talking to Sophie about this and she replied:
‘Yeah, but you never bunked school on your own’
I can’t help feeling that my whole life right now is bunking school a little. Don’t get me wrong, I have to work and do things that, at times, seem a real chore, but looking out of my window every day I wake up I get to see the Mont Blanc Massif in all her glory. My early morning runs are now being swapped for strapping skis on and skinning up mountains, my strength and conditioning work is shared with steep dry tooling training, and when I sit at my laptop, working away, I just have to look out the window to be inspired to work harder.
All of this is possible because I have someone to share it with, someone to egg me on when I’m scared, and someone to share the consequences with if it doesn’t quite work out to plan. The security and confidence that being a team gives me has allowed me to change my life so massively over the last few years and I couldn’t be more grateful even if there are times we bring out the weaknesses in each other.
Finding the perfect partner
Though I have found a partner in crime in Sophie, understandably, we don’t do everything together. Over the last 9 months I have been trying to build up my pool of climbing partners and it has been difficult. Climbers are a small percentage of the population, add to that my skill level, then my aspirations and the pool is even smaller. Small but not impossible.
Through the summer I have climbed with over 20 different people and one thing I have learnt is, there is no such thing as the perfect partner. There is, however, the perfect partner right now. Someone who, on that day, has the same objectives, necessary skills, and personality match that allows you to have a great day out. Sometimes that is Sophie, other times it is one of my new partners and this variety is making me a more rounded and competent climber as well as shaping me as a person.
When I was in London, I only really ran on my own though sometimes with one or two other people. I never tested the water or tried to find the perfect running partner for reasons I still don’t know but often, now, wonder what would have happened if I had. Would I be a better runner? Maybe. Would I have got to know someone I wouldn’t have otherwise? Most definitely.
Sharing experiences with people, I’m discovering maybe a little late, is what life is about and the only way to do that is to put yourself out there and keep on trying. Your path will cross with the most unlikely of people from the most varied of backgrounds and, though some of them will be passing acquaintances, others will grow into firm friends.
Though Sophie and I are joining a wonderful and vibrant community here in Chamonix, I want to remember that I’m still very new here and the welcoming spirit of the people we have met so far has allowed us to have such an amazing time thus far. In return, I want to make sure that I am just as open and inviting as others have been as who knows who I might meet next!