So I just got off a phone conversation with my mom, and really this is a constant bone of contention with my family: having moved out west to pursue mountain/summit related activities, I am constantly a subject of worry for my parents and my family. They are worried about me every weekend I go out.
This bothers me for a few reasons:
1. Obviously I dislike my family, particularly my mother, being so constantly stressed out, especially on my account.
2. Selfishly, I feel like by their worrying, they pretty much dismiss any assumption that I, in pursuing my hobby, do my due diligence, research, and assessment of the risks that I take.
From my perspective, their fear, their worry of me being in danger, is a blind phobia, rather than a rational assessment of the actual risks of those of us who pursue the mountains. To them, everything, ranging from a class 1 trail or walk up a dirt road, to a basic cross country scramble in the desert, and upwards, is comparable, indeed, indistinguishable from, say, the gauntlet on Annapurna (if they knew what that was).
I think most people here at this website do worry about their own safety in the mountains. However, our worries, our fears, are things that are grounded in our own knowledge and experience of our own hobby. Yes, we are aware of risks, and we are aware of the fact that we take calculated risks. And yes, obviously despite all our precautions shit like a randomly falling rock, or a slip on a slope, or yes, sloppiness and mistakes on our part, no matter our experience level or skills, can all result in accidents. I personally approach every mountain with a certain amount of fear and apprehension, and part of this reason is so that it keeps me grounded and aware of the risks. Could bad shit still happen? Of course.
But I really feel like the fear my family feels for me is born of ignorance, reflexive phobia, even superstition. At the risk of sounding arrogant I try to explain to them, what I fear and what you fear are different. They'll read about accidents in the news and give me the most basic advice (it's like if an astronaut's mother was telling him/her "don't forget to put your helmet and oxygen tank on before you go into space"). And yes, from a personal/ego standpoint (and aside from the fact that they disapprove of something that is very important to me), I feel like from their fears they are completely dismissive of the work, research, and due diligence I put into each mountain before I ever get into my car (and yes, I realize that bad things can happen despite all that).
I guess what I'm trying to ask here is, how do you folks deal with this kind of concern from your family and loved ones? I hate the fact that I do stress them out, that they do worry and grow more figurative grey hairs on my account. How can you try to rationally explain what you do to people who know nothing about it, and are unable to understand the very esoteric reasonsing that exists within our hobby/pursuits?
And trust me, I've tried the usual arguments, there's risks in everything, from sitting on a couch and playing video games to walking down the street, but it makes no difference. They argue that I'll never understand the worry that parent feels for a child, but I feel like that's just a false metaphor, if that makes sense (and, without naming specific members, obviously there are many parents here on SP who teach their kids out to enjoy the outdoors and the mountains safely, at an early age even, and 20 years from now will feel comfortable with their kids going off into the mountains on their own, if they choose to do so). And no, I don't know how a parent feels. But obviously there's a difference between being worried for an experienced, peakbagging friend going to tackle a tough peak, and being worried about a meathead friend who's never stepped outside a city before going out to try climb a mountain for the first time.