To sum it up, I love climbing because it speaks to my love for the outdoors, competition, and community.
Ever since I was young, it was a tradition of sorts for my family to go hiking on the weekends. At the time, I hated it. I hated waking up early for anything that wasn't cartoons and I especially didn't like spending my weekends hiking. Whether it was a cultural thing or simply something my parents enjoyed, it wasn't until years later that I organically took to being outdoors.
Climbing reinforces that love for the outdoors. Aside from the gym and metro locations, climbing typically takes place in the desert, forests, beaches, or mountains. Whether its sport leading, trad-climbing, top-roping, or bouldering, they all can take you off the beaten path to areas seldom explored. The journey to the start of the climb can vary. A climb can be as easy as parking and walking for 5-10 minutes, or it can involve scrambling, hiking, and even some "creative" exploring for an hour or more. It's this latter element of adventure that I enjoy.
Then there's the sense of competition. To a small degree its about competing with your friends to see who can accomplish a difficult route first. But to a larger degree, its about the competition between yourself and the wall. It's an intimate antagonism that takes place both on a physical and mental level. There will be times where you know you can physically accomplish a hold, but mentally, you feel the stakes are too high. In the end, you have only yourself to blame when you fall, and its this stark honesty that's invaluable for self-improvement.
Finally, there's the community aspect of it all. I like meeting new people, but I love meeting people with similar interests. Regardless of whether I'm a victim of an echo chamber or not, the climbing community truly is an amazing resource for outdoor enthusiasts. It's a community that not only revolves around exploring the wilderness but also about being physically active, considerate of the environment around you, and opening yourself to new experiences. It spans not only ethnic boundaries, but also across many age groups. Subsequently, its a very diverse community of experiences and cultures.
So fingers crossed for many more years of adventures and fingers crossed for new friends I've yet to meet.