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I would come up every weekend with friends to climb in the surrounding canyons. This was our training ground for many years. Bouldering in the forest with beers and buds proved to be an excellent way of getting stronger. Flagstaff was a place where we could push our limits, work on projects and achieve incredibly rewarding goals. Although climbing was always our main priority, we felt that it was important to balance the anguish of rock climbing with the relief of Advil and cold beer. This is where the construction and corruption of my character began.
As my friends got older, they began migrating north for college and a new era of Flagstaff emerged. I still came up on weekends to go climbing, but people were becoming harder to motivate. I guess it was half to do with the fact that the climbing was so accessible that you could just go climb any time you wanted, but a new force was also emerging. It came to be known as the “Evil Party Vortex”. It was a strong gravitational pull which had shifted our focus from climbing to boozing. Late nights lead to shorter days. We seldom got out of the house before 1:00. Coffee intake was so extreme that when you finally got out to the rocks, nervous tremors would shake you off the wall. My climbing was going down hill.
I really wanted to move up to join my friends in pursuits of drunken belligerence, yet at the same time I really wanted to travel and rock climb. After I graduated from high school I knew I would be going to NAU, but not right away. I was originally just going to take one year off, but I ended up taking two. I was always searching for the next challenging adventure.
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The main reason I came to Flagstaff is that I feel it is the only place where everything I want is right at my fingertips. I can still get out and go climb some of the best stone in Arizona with good friends. Half of my friends are here and they all live within a ten-minute bike ride of our place. I can live on my own with my girl friend. During the summer I can pursue my career working in the outdoors without leaving the state. Taking time off after high school was the best thing I could have done before entering college. My whole travel experience has helped me make more solid decisions about where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. I feel that I’ve been destined for this town for a long time.
Since we’ve moved here, Flagstaff has been very welcoming. Our new home has the same warm, wholesome acceptance of my grandparents place at Christmas time. The essence of Flagstaff is seeping into my being. I feel like I’m becoming one of the local people. The casual atmosphere of riding bicycles all around town and down to Macy’s for a taste of the kindest of coffee, has relaxed my body and my mind. I’ve really been enjoying my new life style, and I only hope my enthusiasm is the same in five years as it is right now. Our new life of rent, school, and homework and jobs is going to be difficult, but I know it will be fun too. Everyday is a new experience, and another opportunity to learn something.
In writing this paper I guess I’ve realized that Flagstaff is still a place where I can push my limits, work on projects and achieve goals. Only now I’m pushing my limits more in education and not as much in climbing, at least for now. My projects are those of everyday schooling and living. My new goals are to get through school, so I can return to doing the same things I was doing before I began my serious pursuit of education. Life is about the journey not the destination, so choose your path wisely and happiness will find you.