Onward and Upward

Do Hard Things

written by Raina Stein

These last 6 months have revolved heavily around change and the unsettling

experience of upsetting my everyday life in anticipation of something big. For the first time in about 4 months, I am beginning to regain some semblance of normalcy in my life and I can’t tell you how great it feels. Life has changed and it’s good. Now, don’t mistake good for easy. I think, as a people, we would rather take what is easy even though something that poses more of a challenge may be more rewarding; but that’s just it… when something is hard and you really have to work for it, it makes it so much better, because you know you’ve earned the payoff. The satisfaction is unmatchable.  I can say, from personal experience that some of the hardest and most trying seasons of my life have led to the most beautiful of outcomes. This season has been no different.

The rock climbing gym I joined two years ago has a motto that has really grown on me.

“Do Hard Things”, and I think these words of wisdom apply to more in life than just rock

climbing. What started as a membership to the gym with the cheapest rate for CrossFit classes, turned into one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life as well as one of the most physically challenging “hobbies” I could imagine. Through my membership to Diablo Rock Gym in Concord, CA. I made two of the best friends I will ever have (Sarah and Allyson, I hope you are reading this!)  and eventually met the guy I would soon uproot my life for (and I’d do it again!) and have to share these life changes with. Over the last two years, I have acquired many shirts from DRG that are decorated with their oddly profound logo and whenever I opt to sport one of them, I am reminded to “Do Hard Things”. Funny enough, taking up rock climbing, though still difficult, was the easiest thing I did with the last 24 months of my life.

"'Do Hard Things', and I think these words of wisdom apply to more in life than just rock


In September of 2014 I began the last leg of my journey in pursuing a career in Physical

Therapy. After many months of rigorous classes and hours upon hours of unpaid time in

Orthopedic clinics and Skilled Nursing Facilities, while trying to balance the addition of a new relationship in my life and growing friendships, I graduated on April 29th, 2016 with a degree that allowed me to register for my national board exams. In June of 2016, my boyfriend and I made the decision that I would follow him to Colorado for medical school. On July 6th, I took my board exams and, somehow, passed, allowing me to apply for my Colorado Physical Therapy License. On August 11th, I left my home of nearly 2 years in Walnut Creek, CA and all the wonderful friendships that had come as a result of my time there, to move to Colorado. I’m now in month two of my first real job and, that too, has been difficult and not without it’s struggles. Needless to say, I’ve been through a lot of changes in the last year and something that has remained a tried and true stress reliever: climbing rocks and the amazing relationships that sparked from a mutual enjoyment of climbing. So yes, Hans Florine (google him!), I’ve done many hard things since joining your gym and I plan to continue!

This summer, my boyfriend and I took a trip with a group of our friends to Oregon for

some good ‘ol climbing at Smith Rock State Park. Now, while I enjoy climbing, I don’t pretend to be a master at it… or even very good at it, but this trip brought me to a new level of skill and comfortability. Kyle (aforementioned boyfriend), brought me on my first multi-pitch climb. I was new to this, so for me it was hard and took extra effort to make sure I was maintaining safety precautions properly as well as the physical exertion of climbing over 260’ of rock on a route aptly named “Voyage of the Cowdog”. Kyle led the first two pitches, leaving me with some sense of security, but when the third, very exposed pitch came along, it was my turn to lead. Kyle set up to belay and I tied into my figure 8 to climb, removed my personal anchor, freeing me to climb to the first bolt to set my first piece of protection before ascending the rest of the wall to belay Kyle from the top. Kyle’s abilities are far beyond mine, but he wanted me to experience the best pitch in its truest form and for that, I am grateful because, though I was scared and my forearms were filled with blood from over-gripping the rock, nothing can take away the feeling of accomplishment that came over me when I clipped my PAS into the final bolts, set an anchor, belayed Kyle to the top and enjoyed the view that only people who are willing to “Do Hard Things” will ever get to see.


So, I’m moving onward with my life in hopes that one day, I may get to experience

something that few others do. The knowledge that when things got tough, I persevered and

made it to the top and was rewarded in ways only those who take chances will understand.

Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to be leading this next pitch in life, stoked for the view to


"...when things got tough, I persevered and made it to the top and was rewarded in ways only those who take chances will understand."

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