The Headlamp Made Me Do It

01/15/2011 05:35 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I knew that the trip would change my life. But I never even imagined that the gear would too.

The trip was a beginner's rock climbing camp in Joshua Tree. Climbing instructor Matt Walker invited me after we met in a climbing lesson at Miraval resort in Tucson. I told him I didn't know how to climb.

"This wall that you just had me scale is my first time," I told him.

"And that," he said, "is precisely why you need to come."

A month or so before the trip, he sent a gear list. Suddenly I felt even more unsure of this whole plan. What was I thinking? I couldn't climb any rocks. I hardly knew what half the stuff on that list was. Okay, I might have known some of what it was. But I certainly didn't have any of it in my closet. Hard shell, soft shell, head lamp. Luckily they were supplying the carabiners, cams, and belay devices. Either way, I was in trouble. (Word to the wise -- jammies are not pajamas...)

But, I don't like to mess around. So, I did my research and went straight to the big dogs - Petzl for a helmet and headlamp; Mammut for a hard shell jacket, pants, base layers (read, long underwear), harness, and pack; Lole for pants and tops; Scarpa for climbing and approach shoes; Julbo for sunglasses; a North Face Scythe jacket; Point6 for socks; Patagonia for a nano puff. jacket You get the idea.

Funny thing happened when I put all that stuff on. I looked like a climber. Even funnier thing? I suddenly felt like one. I mean I really felt like one.

"I think I have gear envy," my instructor said when I arrived at camp. I was giddy.

And then an amazing thing happened. I tied in and I climbed up...and up and up. I had never done it before other. Not real rock climbing on real rocks. But I did it then. There was something about dressing out, about donning the uniform, about getting in costume, that helps you play the part. I felt like I could and so I could.

And that's my point. Because it was at that point that things got really amazing. You see, I came home and I hung those things in my closet and, well, I could feel them calling me. Seriously, calling me. I wanted to wear them because I liked who I was in them.

In those clothes, with that gear. I was a climber. I was an athlete. I was a girl who did stuff and had the stuff to prove it. So, I pulled those Lole pants back on and grabbed my Mammut harness and my Metolius chalk bag and my Scarpa shoes and I went to the climbing gym.

And then I trained for the Breast Cancer 3-Day in my Buff headwear.

And I kayaked in Georgia in my Tilley Hat.

And I weathered the rain in Portland while becoming a Nia Black Belt in my soft shell Westcomb.

And I hiked a volcano in St. Kitts in my North Face convertible pants.

All things I got for my climbing trip.

Think I'm name dropping? Darn straight I am. Because it's all part of the game. The mind game that is. It's just like wearing the "right" jeans or having the "right" computer or mobile phone or car. It's all about how it makes you feel. You feel a certain way. You do certain things.

When my closet was filled with nothing but "stay at home and write" clothes, well, you can imagine what I felt inspired to do. And that's great. It is my job after all. But once my closet was also filled with "get out there and do it" clothes, guess what else I felt inspired to do?

So, it's a new year. And I'd be willing to bet your resolutions include a few things about getting in shape, doing new things, being more active, traveling more places. So, why not fill your closet with the things that will take you there? You'll hear them calling and when you answer, you'll have all you need to get out there and climb or paddle or jump or explore or whatever it is that your new gear calls you to do.

Trust me. Even Iron Man wasn't Iron Man until he put on the suit...