To make the most of your life, you must fight gravity.

I studied geology in college for seven years and I even passed physics and astronomy, so I know that gravity is relentless.  In the halls of the science building, I saw a t-shirt which said “Gravity: it’s not just a good idea, it’s the LAW”. But, as a newbie climber in 1982, I encountered an even better t-shirt motto.  Up in New Hampshire, I saw a rock climber wearing a navy blue t-shirt which proclaimed “FIGHT GRAVITY”.  It seemed an apt battle cry for the arguably foolish pursuit of climbing up rocks, ice and mountains while gravity inexorably tugged us downward.   Then 20 years old, I liked the irony, the Don Quixote like impracticality, and the spunk of the saying, so I got myself a “FIGHT GRAVITY” t-shirt and sometimes wore it climbing around New England.

Chris Flood & Jim fight gravity (New Hampshire, 1983)

Thirty two years later, I now think there is wisdom in the “Fight Gravity” directive. Imagine gravity’s weighty pull not just as a physical force, but as also synonymous with lethargy, apathy and sloth.  Though the gravitational force keeping us attached to Earth make life possible, unless you fight gravity you will not live your best possible life.

As we age, we increasingly feel gravity’s negative physical effects through weight gain, lower strength and aching joints. Gravity seemingly tries to make us sit still, flop on the couch and remain stationary.  If you stop fighting gravity at that point, your movement stops. Momentum is lost and, if your motivation fades, you may never get off the couch again. Gravity is now winning.

Gravity can also exert detrimental physiological effects on us. When we can no longer climb as well, run as fast or jump as high, our ego gets bruised. We miss the old, fitter versions of ourselves, so we get tempted to quit.  We rationalize away the need to even try anymore, and maybe we even get comfortable just letting lethargy take over. Gravity has now won.

Heading out to climb a 14,000 foot peak in Colorado and to fight gravity. Photo by Jim Davidson

Heading out to climb a 14,000 foot peak in Colorado and to fight gravity. Photo by Jim Davidson

If you want to have fun, get things done, and achieve what you were meant to with your one precious life, you need to fight gravity. You need to get up and move. Get something done.  You’ve got to break lethargy’s hold by pushing back against gravity. Even if you’re slower than you once were, keep going. With momentum, you can still get great things done.

As every climber knows, if you want to make the top, you have to fight gravity!