Sunday, June 30, 2013

Balancing Act

Am I getting old? There was a point in my life when being old was cool and desirable. While I was stuck pushing a toy car across the living room floor, my sisters were driving real vehicles on real roads. When I could eventually drive, my sisters were gone, in homes of their own. Married even! WOW. Growing up is awesome I thought. False. The idea of growing up is awesome until it happens to you. On top of that, the idea old age is cool shatters after the age of 24. When I was younger, awe obviously clouded my vision. I didn't see my sisters paying for gas to fuel the real car. I didn't see the very uncool traffic jams. I didn't see the mortgage, grocery, and student loan payments flying out the door. All I saw was a vogue, suave lifestyle that consisted in doing whatever, whenever.

I turn 26 this year. Young by most standards, but it's the oldest I've ever been, so it feels pretty damn old. Which, after writing that, I don't even know what that means. People older than me say that I'm in the prime of my life. Gee, thanks? That's a lot of pressure. The prime of my life. My entire life. Is it all down hill after this? Am I doing..things..right? What are benchmarks or signs to know if I'm on track for having a fulfilling life? How much is health insurance!? Wait, should I be saving for retirement, which is still some weird amoeba type thought that I can barely conceptualize. I have so many questions! This is all happening so fast.

It's not that getting old scares me, it's that the passing of time seems so fast. I feel like I and perhaps society, place an inordinate amount of emphasis on spending time wisely for it is, unfortunately, something you cannot stash away in a savings account. There are days when I question whether or not I am doing the "right" thing with my life or making the "right" decision. This is certainly a more common line of thought during the summer on the Pro Leisure Tour, where, at times, I feel like I'm a complete waste. Hiking around, doing as I please. Not really accomplishing much of anything that will contribute to the greater good. (Well, it contributes to my greater good.) It is during those times that I get anxious and question myself. I find that I compare myself to those around me in a feeble attempt to measure the worth of my outings and choices. A dangerous train of thought. Rationally I know that judgments like these are not an accurate predictor of happiness, success or anything really, but it is incredibly easy to get swept away by this line of "reasoning." I've been attempting to let go of this mindset in hopes of adopting a more gentle, non-judgmental mentality, but I still struggle to accept things for how they are.

When I was young and still pushing toy cars across the floor, my dad always told me, "Balannnceee. Balance is everything." I'm fairly certain I looked at him blankly, not knowing exactly what he meant. Perhaps it was some secret that people who drove cars only knew. He never really expanded on that phrase and it's probably for the better. Over the years it has taken on numerous and varied meanings. During college it meant find a balance of studying and skipping class to ski. After I graduated it meant strike a ratio of days dedicated to "panicing about the future" and "relaxing about the future." Balance for running means, run AND rest. Now a days, balance has become a blend of my previous definitions. It means, relax about the future, but don't rest on your laurels. It means take time for yourself, but not all the time. Pay your bills on time, save for the future, but you probably need that LuLuLemon top. Spend time in the mountains doing what you love and don't feel guilty about it.

Deep down I know what balance means and I know that over time the definition will change. I'm sure 40 years from now, when ultra running has destroyed my knees, it will actually mean balance.  But for now, I'm happy with the definition I've given it. Though that's not to say that I don't forget that definition on a daily basis. It just means that it's a working definition. A work in progress. The PLT is in it's beginning stages. There is much traveling, running and hiking to be done and I fully intend to enjoy it. As long as I don't forget that I still need to pay my rent on the 1st and that my Jeep doesn't run on hopes and dreams.
So confusing!

 "I suppose it's like the tickling a crocodile, isn't it? Time is chasing after all of us." -Peter Pan