Happy new Year! / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

Another year has past, and once again I am back in NZ... training at the Cave, writing updates, gardening, helping my mother at our cafe, making some metal art and  pondering what I have achieved last year. Analyzing what I have learnt and where I have progressed...  Thereby determining the direction of this new year, and where my focus needs to lie. I think about this all the time, it is an ever-evolving process, however, it is more measurable at this time of year and therefore I am a little more thoughtful than usual around New Years.

Time is a funny creature, it creeps by so slowly and steadily that one barely notices it, and then suddenly it is gone... and what have we got left at the end? We gain experiences, yet are left with nothing, other than some memories and few extra wrinkles... I guess that is why one really MUST live each moment as fully as possible, gaining and  learning the maximum amount from every experience, be it happiness, sadness or pain.

From looking at the numbers, 2009 appears to be the best year of my life, and yet my progressions last year have made 2009 seem insignificant. 2010 was a year of dedicated preparation and training… I chose to remain in NZ for the first part of the year to complete a French course at university and consolidate my base of power training. I focused on shorter trips, dedicating myself to working specific and iconic goals. I also battled with very difficult weather conditions while on climbing trips, and as a result the number of routes I climbed in 2010 was not as high. This forced me to confront my impatience and frustrations head on, and learn to cope with performance anxiety with some degree of control. As a result, I have seen sound improvements in my climbing ability and self confidence. Moreover, during the last year I have experienced a complete range of deep emotions, from love and companionship, to beautiful, independent and egoistic freedom... From the overwhelming, in-containable joy of success, to the heart-wrenching, contorted depths of despair when time has run out and it feels as though you have poured every ounce of energy and willpower into something which will never happen... From the limitations and frustrations of being stuck at home, trying to convert feelings into words, to the satisfaction and rewards of reading my own writing, from the other-side of the world and being liberated from those thoughts which had been lurking in the depths of my mind.

On another note, I would like to thank to everyone who has supported me last year... those who belayed me for long hours in the bitter Arapilesian wind, those who selflessly volunteered to jug behind me for days, those who took the time to make sense my crazy ramblings and helped me convert them into readable articles and of course all those wonderful companies who have provided me with endless amounts of gear for my expeditions and adventures: Spelean, Five Ten, Earth Sea Sky, Em's Power Cookies, Cactus and lastly my dear Mother.