New tracks

A reflective addendum I've been thinking about. When a person goes through a hard time, and make no mistake about it – we all will – where everything is lost, it's hard not to think of the recovery process as "getting back to a good place." Sort of…using past benchmarks as a measure for where we want to be in the future.

Initially this was my goal. But I have learned that this is not practical. When a life crisis happens, it shocks the system to the point that those tracks we were on…well, you get jolted from them, permanently. And that's a good thing, because the tracks you were on were not taking you to a good place.

There are some things from my personal past that were good. Riding a bike for me…that was/is good. The woods, the high from completing a big climb, the views. Undenialbly positive. Writing, something I used to do a ton of, is good for me. It allows me to reflect, it allows me to put pride into something of mine that matters. A dog – taking care of something that relies on you but also forces you to go outside is very good. The dog puts things into balance.

Many things that make life good are new. Marriage for example. If you had told me two, five, ten years ago that I would EVER be married I would have called you a nut job. I didn't believe in it fundamentally, believed it was a compromise of self. Believed I was too free to ever want that. But then, it happened, where I got down on one freaking knee on a rainy morning in Gallway, Ireland and proposed. It felt right, it felt natural and it was a leap I wanted to take. And I have to say, it's been the greatest thing in my life. The depth of it is beyond what I could have imagined, the love, the fulfillment, the caring.

I think if you look at life, there are three major components (at least in modern western civilization). Professional, self and family. I was always really good at self fulfillment, decent at profesional, crappy at family. Honestly, when I viewed my road back to something, anything, I aimed for the professional side first. Figured I would have started a business by now, written the great novel, whatever. Yet interestingly enough, that's been the hardest area to make progress in during the past year. And I suppose that's to be expected. I got majorly derailed in that department, and it's going to take time to get back. 

Self fulfillment has been a little harder in coming too. Only recently have I gotten back to a place where I ride my bike like I used to. And honestly, there has been a lot of up and down on this road to a new place. But I'm seeing daily progress here. I suppose spirituality is part of this, and the events of the past year have left me a little jaded in this area. Perhaps it will come. I suspect, with time, it will. There are other things too that I want to dive into. I want to learn to paint, become an artist. I want to live in a place with a real kitchen so I can cook, everyday, well. I want to be a master craftsmen of something, and I (and a few people close to me) know what that is and the steps I'm taking to do it. But I won't mention that here because I don't want to jinx it. Self fulfillent is an area where some progress has been made, and more is on the way.

The area of the three I'm most happy with is family. Family being my wife, my parents, my sister and a handful of friends. We're closer now than ever. Obviously marriage adds a new level to a person's life, and it's not something I take trivially. Just the opposite really. But there is more than that. The events of the past year have taken a family that was in some ways quite distant – we're all spread on opposite ends of the continent – and made us closer. Enhanced communication, boosted the love. There is a scene in the movie "Legends of the Fall," at the very end, where the bad guys show up to kill the hero, and the family, which had been torn and tattered by a series of dramatic events, came together in defense. The old dad with the stroke knocking out the bad guys with the double barreled shot gun, the long estranged brother doing the same with a long range shot from the distance. Obviously this is dramatized – a wild west example – but I liked how FAMILY came together. That's kind of how this feels. Oddly enough, there is now a new challenge in this area, that being enhanced relations with the family of my wife. They don't like me, to put it mildly. And there is gasoline that stoked this fire and made it worse. No matter. Time is on our side, and time does heel wounds. We'll continue to put the good effort out, I will continue to love their daughter like no other and hopefully that component can also get to a place it needs to be.

One component where I want it to be, but also with a huge challenge ahead. One component progressing. One component still waiting to get off the ground. All things considered, not bad after 365 days. The goal is all three, but moving a big boulder takes time. The effort will yield the results.

A small thing that cracks me up. So last year in the shit storm I lost all my nordic ski tuning gear. My handcrafted wooden waxing form, lots of cools waxes, scrapers, irons, etc. Seems minor, but it was kind of big. Waxing for me was more than just making my skis fast. It was a place to go to dream bigger dreams, to escape. It was the process of adventure, if that makes any sense.

Well, when I lost that, I lost a lot. I don't think it's a coincidence that I did not nordic ski one time last year. And that's not good…that's a part of my past self that was absolutely positive. I never had a bad day nordic skiing, and it always made me happy. Well, cash is tight now, but I decided to rectify this situation. Take something back. I'm fortunate at work to get pro-deals on stuff, which makes it affordable. So I ordered some necessities. A Swix waxing table. Nordic vices, but also alpine vices, because Elaine and I are going to rip up the backcountry this year and this is something essential. A bunch of waxes, two scrapers, an iron and a file. Not an escape this time, but a place to prepare, to smile. It's odd how the prospect of waxing skis makes me so happy, but it does, and I suspect it's a lot deeper than just dripping wax onto p-tex.

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