Lately I have been using my bike more and more as an investigative tool. I’m fortunate enough to have several bikes at my disposal (unfortunate when I think about how much time it takes to maintain them), but none-the-less, I have lately been worrying less about types of rides or where to ride and focusing more on just riding. Riding the bike – and also lately running – have proved to be my most effective enablers of ‘going deep’ and getting into the primo zone for interior thought.
After years and ons and offs, fits and starts, triumphs and slips, I recently came to conclude that sobriety is the only lifestyle that will work for me. Some of you may remember that I came to this same conclusion some 3-4 years ago and for a few years I rocked it. Then I started thinking I could be like other folks and drink casually. Over the past year I tested that theory, and the result is I can’t, and perhaps more importantly, I’ve realized I don’t need to.
Part of the process of getting and being sober involves actually growing up – something that was inhibited before. Looking at life for what it is, and your place within it with a clarity that was unavailable prior. Introspection. Reflection. Deep Thoughts of the Jack Handey variety. This is always both enlightening and challenging.
Maturity – or my mid-life crisis as it may be – and this process of growing up are making me ask the big questions about why I’m doing what I’m doing, what I should be doing, and is it what I want to be doing and if it’s not – what to do about that. I often times think that my mid-life crisis is not a sports car, but a new career. That’s a whole different blog post, or series of posts even – either way, that’s a lot of doing to be doing.
I struggle with where to focus time and energy. Where is truly the most important places to put these valuable and scarce resources? There’s a million places online that want to tell you how to find the ‘work-life’ balance and how to budget your time in this ever-speeding-up world (see all the time management, calendar and to-do’ apps). I’ve lately decided to try and ignore every single one of these and go with what feels right. I think it should be innate. It should be obvious.
Too often I find I say ‘yes’ – even to very worthwile efforts – while neglecting others I know are probably more worthwhile. I’ve been trying to say no more often, especially to doing design work for free – something I’ve always struggled with.
Increased clarity is helping to decide where priorities are. I have sorta branded myself online as ‘Dad – Biker – Designer’ as I felt that’s order of importance. It’s not always easy to maintain that hierarchy, but if anything, assigning everything to one of those categories and moving forward that way – has in some respects, helped. I don’t always get it right. Sometimes my family suffers for that and I feel guilty about it. That’s the struggle. I’ve realized that’s part of being an Adult®. We make mistakes, we learn we move on. To some of you this may seem like, “duh,” but until lately, it’s been hard for me to grasp this concept. It’s about doing the best you can and being right with yourself.
I’m not even sure really why I feel compelled to share this stuff and where that lies in the overall scheme of importance and priority. Perhaps the act of writing it out somehow validates it or reinforces what I’m thinking. It’s a process of discovery and learning, but I guess I could keep it to myself, just write it in a private journal. But isn’t this what blogs are for? The thing that turned me off them some time ago was when they became merely link regenerators or methods for redistribution of solely feel-good or commentary type stories – means to an end or tools to generate revenue, content, or traffic – take your pick. To me those aren’t ‘blogs’ as much as online magazines. To me, blogs were always personal – sometimes intensely so – that’s what made them compelling reading and what caused authors and readers to initially connect in such an intrinsic way.
Most of the time I have thoughts I think are worth sharing but there’s simply so much other daily stuff mixed in with them that by the time it’s time to put fingers to keys, the concepts are lost, fuzzy or seem even more incoherent that on the first pass.
<geezer mode>"Back in the day, the blog authors with big readership were brutally honest about themselves and others. Seldom giving a shit about offending anyone, nor caring, really, if anyone read at all. Now a blog can be nothing but regurgitated inspirational cat posters."</geezer mode>
I guess the overwhelming reason I want to start posting more – and not just about heavy, introspective stuff – is that there are so many other blogs or magazines or authors out there that I’m inspired and helped by and I want to be part of that internet mojo, a link in that chain somewhere. It’s easy to sit down and write a happy story, or conversely spit out stuff to piss people off or shock on purpose. What is the hardest, but arguably the most worthwhile is to simply be honest.