Monday, April 4, 2011

The Balance, "With my mind on the moment and the moment on my mind"

After a week in the desert, and a weekend of climbing and partying with friends, I delve back into my creative writing psyche to dig out the cobwebs. I’ve been in this situation before, in fact, this stance of repose is my life now: climbing and having adventures and then reflecting on them through prose.

Spring is upon us, flowers are blooming, the scenery is featuring more greenery, and possibilities are infinite. The routine of winter must be changed, as there is more light, and more hours to enjoy the outdoors. Whatever we want out of life we can dream about in spring.

In any season of life I struggle to find the balance; I think many climbers and other outdoor athletes are the same way, especially those who find their lives consumed by their outdoor pursuits. It is an easy mirage to get caught up in simply dedicating ourselves to these activities and giving less and less to the other facets of life. I lived this life for several years: climbing was what I did, and how I defined myself. The more I obsessed with climbing and it became a singular pursuit, the less I truly enjoyed it.

Then came the full-time job, after years of living the full-on dirtbag life I grew tired of it, and wanted something else. I flipped the switch directly from living out of a tent and climbing all the time, to working full-time and living indoors and all the comforts that come along with that. Eventually I grew as tired of the 9-5 life as I had my endlessly free dirtbag lifestyle.

I learned though, and all lessons in life must be learned through experience. After my recent experiment with the full-time existence I realize there are many benefits of gainful employment. A man can only go so far living day to day in a financial way, and as we get older we have the need for health and dental insurance and savings. If a man wishes to have a family, he must bring home the bacon, as they say.

That said, I don’t have a family yet, and I am in good health. I’m taking the risk of not having insurance and savings, and living as free as I’d ever been. It’s a risk worth taking, in good time.

Recently, I've found myself having an internal debate of what direction I want to head in life. The practical, fiscal side of me tells me to start heading back to security, to a full-time job with benefits, while my free-wheeling spirit says to keep climbing, keep dreaming, life as free as the wind, work only when I completely run out of money. Then there is the voice of experience, it says to find something in the middle, find the balance. Have money but also live in a tent from time to time. Work, but have weeks, even months to ramble, to enjoy the public lands of our country, experience freedom. Realize there is a time and place for everything, and keep my mind on the moment, and the moment on my mind.


brian said...

Well said!

Al Smith III said...

Love the reflection will lead you be only if you are willing to be led :)

Anonymous said...

Luke, You are so right about balance and that is the key. Remember that there are many out there who work 8-6 and have little savings and little security. In fact, it is often a trap that keeps you tied into the "norms" of behavior. Avoid the trap. Life is a journey and make it as great and enjoyable journey as you can. In the end, all we truly have are the memories we create on the trip. NO ONE at their waning hours has every said they would work more. Make the freedom mobile proud. Take care and hope all is well. Excellent prose - wonderful pics and great adventures. matt

Anonymous said...

Yes. I agree! Well Said. I have been doing a lot of pondering lately about how to find freedom within the "stable/townbound" life....I've found no great solutions yet. But my current theory is to try and stay open to what the world is offering me at the moment and not fear unexpected of luck to you on your journey, Luke!
-Lisa G

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