Hoosier Heights and my future in the climbing community

So, I have a super-exciting announcement to make.

Starting September 1st, I will be the newest Assistant Coach and Coordinator of Youth Programs at Hoosier Heights, Indianapolis. I will be coaching their Youth Climbing Club, as well as their Intermediate and Advanced climbing teams. I will also be overseeing their youth programs, generally, and managing their social media. I literally am so excited for this opportunity, I can hardly put it into words - but I'm going to try.



As many of you know, the last few years have been a wild ride for me, personally and professionally. I moved to DC in 2010, received my Master's in 2012, and worked for the last three years in jobs totally unrelated to my education that I wasn't passionate about. I spent all these years working in dead-end jobs that I wasn't enthusiastic about, first to pay my bills, and second to support my husband while he has pursued his legal career. I was concerned about our health care, our student loan debt, and the cost of living in DC (which is no joke). Basically, I was holding these jobs to keep us afloat and because it was what I felt I "should" be doing. You know, adulting.

In the middle of all this monotony, I started climbing. In April, 2013, I purchased a Living Social with a friend for open-climb and top-rope belay classes at Sport Rock Climbing Centers. I did open climb on weekends for about a month, before another friend convinced me to try bouldering. I fell in love with climbing so hard, I never left the community. I have been climbing about 4-5 times per week for the last two years, and when I'm not climbing, I miss it. I love the people, the passion they have for the sport, and the sport itself. There is room for endless improvement and endless learning, and climbing embodies, for me, everything that life is about.

"I climb to learn. There is something great about knowing that you have a long way to go before you will fully understand something. Climbing is like a school that has endless classes: safety, top roping, leading, traditional climbing, sport climbing, bouldering, performance training, environmental ethics, climbing as a living practice, sportsmanship, and so on. You can attend this school for the rest of your life and still never graduate, which I find great because it's not about the attainment of the goal but what you do on the way. Just imagine all the experiences you have had since you started climbing, all the lessons you would not have learned otherwise, and then think about all the experiences and lessons yet to come…pretty cool." - Kevin Jorgeson

Last year, I started considering taking the plunge and transitioning my career into full-time coaching and instructing. I had advanced a lot, and felt I was prepared to take on that role. The only obstacle was that I was scared. I had allllllll this education I had never technically used, and all this debt to go with it. I felt the pressure to provide, to have that traditional, 9-5 office job that provided a salary, benefits, paid vacation and stability. I wasn't ready to take that leap of faith, and risk that stability and predictability in order to do something I loved.

This last year has changed it all for me. I have been a mentor, friend, and pseudo-chaperone to several of the athletes on the Earth Treks climbing team, and my relationships with them have convinced me - this is what I want, and I'm going to go for it. I'm done wasting my life in jobs I don't love for some lame concept I have in my mind of what I "should" be doing, professionally. My degrees gave me many skills I would not have attained elsewhere, and in that sense, they were worth the money (…sort of).

I approached the staff of Hoosier Heights back in June, when I climbed at their facility for the first time. I spoke with the manager there about a possible coaching position, and have kept in touch with him (and the head coach) for the past two months. I really believe that this arrangement was somehow divinely placed into my life, because it has happened at the exact right time. It could not have come about more perfectly.

This is the snake. Come climb with me!
At the end of the day, it was my concern over what others might think of me that drove me to continue in these "meh" jobs. I'm over it. I'm ready to dive in, head-first, into the climbing community and give it my whole life. (Oh, and blogging….because obviously.)

I'm coming for you, Hoosier Heights.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs

18 comments:

  1. Ahh! That's so awesome! <3 Congrats, and I'm super happy to hear that you get to work in something that you love to do! Gotta love when something falls perfectly in place! :]!

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  2. it is not very oftern you hear someone say they love their job so I wish you all the luck in taking a life change, Enjoy every min!!

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    1. Thank you! Yes I'm definitely ready to be one of those people that looks forward to work. :)

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  3. So exciting! Congratulations! It sounds like you've found your passion, and you're going to be awesome. Can't wait to hear about your new journey.

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    1. Thanks so much! I'll definitely be writing a lot about it! And doing some Periscopes at the gym, too, I think that will be super fun!

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  4. Congrats on taking the plunge! There's no way you will regret that decision!

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    1. Haha as long as we can make it work financially I know it is going to be the right decision in every other way!

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  5. Congrats Jessi! This is such wonderful news. There's is nothing like walking in your purpose! I wish you the best of luck...

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    1. I LOVE that phrase. "Walking in your purpose." I want that to be my life mantra!

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  6. So excited for you! Life can be as amazing as you want it to be. So just rock it, alright - ;-) Best wishes to you. And eager to hear more.

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    1. Haha thank you! I'll be writing lots about it, and doing some Periscopes at the gym! I can't wait!

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  7. Woohoo! I'm not a climber, but you're excitement is contagious! I'll have to talk to my brother in law and see if this is where they take their kids to climb.

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    1. There are several places in the area (Hoosier Heights in Carmel, Climb Time in Noblesville and EvoRock in Indianapolis), but I think Hoosier Heights is the largest! They have an awesome facility, they should check it out if they haven't already!

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  8. Congrats! This is awesome. I totally get you on feeling like you're supposed to have a "real job..." but I think any job that makes you happy is what's real! This sounds like an awesome adventure!

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    1. Amen to that! It's funny, I think a lot of people get what I'm saying, and have had similar experiences. You just never know if others can relate to you until you start opening up about your experiences.

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  9. I know what you mean about DC living costs. I've never lived there, but a guy at the hotel I stayed at in DC told me he commuted a considerable distance because it was cheaper than actually living there. The tax on my hotel room was $100 alone, so that was a shocker when I got there.

    I'm glad you are able to pursue your passion and make a career out of it. I recently quit my retail job to pursue freelance writing and blogging, and I've never felt better! Not only has my job situation improved, but my health has as well. Congratulations on your career change! I wish you all the best!

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    1. Thanks so much! Yeah a one bedroom apartment here has the same monthly cost as the mortgage on a four-bedroom house in Indiana. It's just ridiculous! We're excited to be less financially strapped, for sure!

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