I am thinking I should do a little "rewind" on our lives. We moved from central Illinois to Chattanooga, TN for the rock climbing. Yup. You read correctly. Andy and I are rock climbers. We met rock climbing and most of our dear friends are rock climbers. Try not to hold that against us ;-)
Being rock climbers in Illinois, we had to figure out something to do in the "off season" of rock climbing. The best time to climb is in the fall, winter, and spring--if it is not too wet. So during the summer we picked up swimming, biking, and running...the birth of triathlon for us. We both were in careers that we enjoyed but didn't LOVE. Something needed to change. So we moved to Chattanooga. Chattanooga, TN is the heart of pristine world class rock climbing in the Southeast. Also, Chattanooga has some of the BEST biking and running I have ever experienced. I think Bill Ramsey's editorial illustrates our thoughts, feelings, and reactions of friends and family best...
You Are Not Your Job: Bill Ramsey
After 18 years at Notre Dame, I’ve quit my job teaching philosophy and accepted a position at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas. Despite being happy working at Notre Dame, I was generally miserable living in South Bend, Indiana. Much of my misery stemmed from the absurd amount of driving required to go climbing. I would clock over 800 round trip miles to climb at Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, spending 14 hours behind the wheel each weekend. By contrast, in Las Vegas superb year-round limestone and sandstone climbing will never be more than 45 minutes away. It was a classic career versus lifestyle decision. As some of my Catholic friends advocate, I chose life.
Most people who know me understand the decision. Still, some have expressed surprise that I could make such a move. After all, it could be said that I was failing to properly advance my career by accepting a position at a less prestigious university. One friend’s email put it this way:
“Who in their right mind would quit a job at ND to move to Vegas? It’s not like you’re going to continue climbing hard for many years to come…Are you really so obsessed with climbing that it’s more important than your career?”
The message ignored certain factors behind my decision, like what winters are like in northern Indiana – or what everything is like in northern Indiana. But the bottom line is, yes, I really am so obsessed with climbing that, in certain respects, it is more important than my career. The fulfillment that I get from teaching and writing is enormous. However, I determined long ago that my life without climbing – without the places, people and experiences that climbing has introduced to me – would be unacceptably diminished. Whether I’m projecting a hard sport route, getting my ass kicked way off the deck on a wall, or taping bloody fingers for the 10th hour of a marathon session in the gym, climbing is a critical dimension of who I am, who I hang out with, and, now, where I live.
When people find out I’m a philosopher, they often ask me about the meaning of life. Bad question. Meaning is not of life but in life. It’s in the various endeavors we pursue and relationships we develop that, if we are lucky, prove to be deeply gratifying. The way we earn a living certainly can (and should) be a part of that. I’m happy to have found a career where it is. But it is only one part. That’s why professionals who could be earning more money and stature working in Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York are moving to towns like Bend, Telluride, Fayetteville, and even Las Vegas. What the hell are they thinking? They are thinking about the other parts – the parts with fresh powder, Class V whitewater, or miles of pocketed limestone…the parts that enrich their lives in ways that no career advancement ever could.
I make no apologies for choosing a path where my career occasionally comes second, just so I can climb hard. Something, by the way, that will continue for many years to come. ~ Bill RamseyAndy and I have gotten the opportunity this year to really evaluate our lives and what we want to do to make the most out of our experience on this beautiful planet. I think Bill Ramsey is right, but I also think you can have a career that is just as important as your life outside of work. Andy and I love being active and helping people. Without even promoting ourselves as coaches, people have asked us to help them with their own athletic endeavors over the years.
We have decide to make it official and throw our hats into the ring. GAIA Fitness is born! We picked the name GAIA because of its origin. GAIA is the Greek mythology goddess "Mother Earth." We believe being psychically fit is such an organic experience we wanted to associate our company with something equally powerful. We are a full service coaching company. Our client base ranges from beginner personal training for weight loss to endurance athletes. Check us out on the Web, Twitter, and Facebook. Also, there is a link to GAIA Fitness web-site in the sidebar of my blog.
PS- We are getting TN phone numbers next week, so the contact information on the "Contact Us" page is going to change soon. Also, we haven't "officially launched" yet we are still ironing out the business license, tax ID info, etc. So keep an eye-out for our upcoming press release soon! Yeah!