I think I'd be lying if I didn't say there wasn't an element in my life of…lost. I remember reading Lance Armstrong's book, "It Not About the Bike." The book chronicles his foray into cancer, and how he eventually recovered to win the Tour de France. And there was segment in the book, after he was diagnosed with cancer, where he went through this phase where he honestly did not know what he wanted to do. He wasn't sure he wanted to pursue bike racing anymore, and indeed he spent most of his time playing golf and figuring it out. It was, in the end, a phase that he went through before his next big breakthrough.
I feel like I am in a similar place right now. And while I in no way want to compare my trauma with Mr. Armstrongs, I will say that the motivation to figure out what the next step is after the chaos of the 2nd half of 2009 is definitely taking some time. More than I thought, to be honest. And I'll admit something – while skiing brings me a ton of joy, I feel like I need more. Don't get me wrong – on days like yesterday, where myself and a friend battled up a mountainside in a raging windstorm, as the last rays of the January light turned the clouds an amber hew – I feel the power of skiing, of the mountains.
I guess maybe, I want to roam more, I want to go deeper in. I have this belief that you can do whatever you want in the world, and for people with talent, this is especially true. But I am at a strange crossroads right now, and I'm trying to figure it out. There are some things though that hold true:
1. I want to stay in this area. This is my home. The mountains here are the mountains I love. The forest, the trails…and the people. I've fought hard to get back here, and for now, this is the place. And I mean Nederland, not Boulder.
2. I want to work for myself. Not as a hermit, but as somebody in control of my own destiny. I would love to have a little workshop in Nederland where I could go everyday and produce something, be it an environmentally friendly ski, or an inspirational publication with words and images, or a cool outdoor shop. I sometimes dab with the idea of "Mountain Co-op" type thing – an educational based office in Nederland that provides people with environmentally responsible outdoor activity options, and basically promotes a mountain lifestyle. Sort of an art, culture, environment type deal. The details need to be worked out, clearly.
3. I want to be flexible. I want to be able to move if I need to, and stay if I need to.
4. I want to be able to do 4-5 months of NOLS contracts per year. I value my home base, but in the field, in the mountains, leading students, I shine. And I come home with renewed vigor and strength.
5. I want to be able to balance responsibility with adventure. A strange concept coming from me. But I've come to realize people – the ones you love – are as important as the mountains and adventure. You can't go haywire on one of the other…there needs to be balance…but for me, the key is that balance. And I'm finding it hard to rage while maintaining balance. I've always gravitated towards extremes, and this is an unusual place to be.
I need fulfillment, I need something that is mine. That has the potential to provide a better life for others. Hmm…the more I think about it…I think I know what I want to do. Early morning skis, followed by forays into a workshop to bring people something with beauty, and maintains food on my table. Staying close to the people who matter, dog curled up on the floor by a wood burning stove, able to take NOLS contracts whenever I like. Maybe there is more than one path too, as there is more than one talent. And I know I'm blessed with talent (I hate saying that), but I need focus to go with it.
I need to sit and think. And I'm starting to feel the need to make it all happen. Instead of dreaming the dream…living the dream.