My name is Tom Randall; I'm a British Trad Climber currently based in Sheffield. I've been climbing for around 20 years, and my preference is for first ascent adventures and crack climbing!
Over the years of climbing, I have found my "why" to climb has become more and more evident. In the early days, it was about always trying to push the grades, climb my hardest, scare myself, and in some ways, prove that I could be a professional athlete. As many of those elements have become satisfied, there's come a different meaning to climbing for me; it's one that keeps dragging me out each and every week - no matter the weather, or what country I'm in. That meaning has been the need to connect with outdoor spaces, and to take enjoyment and satisfaction from everything in their multiple forms.
It's this lack of the outdoors element, which I've found particularly hard during the COVID-19 crisis with the change in our permitted activities. To me, a true adventure is experienced when I'm outside, and no matter how I frame it, the cellar just doesn't seem that adventurous. Likewise, I love the fresh air, the vast open spaces, and the lack of "communication" the outdoors gives me. When I'm training on my home board in the garden, I'm just 10 meters from my neighbors; my phone still rings, and I know I'm hemmed in by thousands of other people in my city.
I certainly don't feel like it's something to complain about - but more to share with others, that this lack of a connection with the outdoors has affected my motivation for climbing, full stop. I've felt guilty during the last month or so that I haven't been that motivated to either climb or train, but when I thought about it, I realized this is because, under the current conditions, it doesn't serve my deeper needs. That's ok, though… I'll drop my expectations for the moment and pick them up again when we can go outside without limitations!
For the moment, while I can't change anything, I'm focussing most of my energy into other areas of my life that I can enjoy to the maximum. My family, my work, and my DIY projects are all getting quite a lot of attention at the moment! The interesting thing is that previously, none of these items were things I didn't enjoy, just now, I try and put my positive energy into those areas rather than get frustrated about the lack of outdoor freedom.
For me, it's good to share these experiences and thoughts for two reasons. One, I can get it out of my head and resolve it better. Two is that most of us are in similar situations, and so I hope that for a few people out there, who were also wondering why they didn't feel very motivated at the moment, this might just ring true or help you think in a more positive way.