The gravity of living. Pulling every which way, with so many ways to live, to scratch out a life. So many forms of obsession, lust, love. Blows my mind the little places, niches that folks nestle into and cling to. I think of all the turns in my own life, the choices made, how different it could have turned out. I haven’t always been able to be motivated and focused. I have spent way too much time regretting, wishing, slowly drowning myself in desperation. I have always contained so much energy and without a focus it needed to be subdued, experimenting with drugs, saturating myself, numbing out the heedless drive and closing the circle in tighter. Becoming more depressed, seeing nothing good coming out of my pathetic life that hurt to live. Instead of stepping out of the circle and trying something, you just want out, to circle even tighter and shrivel up and disappear. Not a healthy place to be.
Perhaps the two most critical forks in the road, for me were moving to Colorado and giving up everything to hike the north half of the Colorado Trail. Moving to Colorado took some time to make a change in me, I was still depressed, still didn’t see myself doing anything good. Really it was when friend of mine invited me to hike the CT with him that summer. Now I had never been camping, backpacking, didn’t know shit about the woods, but I did know I needed to do something big, something to stir up my life, shaken not stirred! I gave up having a roof over my head, most of my material possessions and dove in head first. It was quite an experience. We only made it to Monarch Pass, but it started a shift, a change in my whole view of life, goals, desires.
To be honest I didn’t hike the CT and become a happy, motivated person. But it opened my eyes to what a regular human could do. Being outside among all that open space, those massive mountains, gorgeous little streams, perfect camping spots, terrible thunder storms and baking heat, it all makes you feel so small. Not the small of being stupid and pathetic, but the small that makes you realize that the world is wide open, it doesn’t take a great job, a sweet car, or a big house to be fulfilled. All that is nonsense that society piles upon your shoulders, that is what gives you stress, makes you frustrated, mad, feeling left out. So fuck it, leave yourself out and go do something.
I would guess that most people have plenty of ups and downs. I swear that I ride a roller coaster. I can get up there so high that I can see all my stress and anguish as being tiny little ant problems. So small and insignificant. But then back down, broke and broken it feels like nothing but walls penning me in. Perspective, all about perspective. The thing is, you live through those moments, we need to keep that perspective. The more high points the easier it is to remember that you get through, you can prevail and that life isn’t and shouldn’t be all cherries and sunshine.
Life is a struggle, but make that struggle worth while. To do that it takes the courage to step out of the routine that leaves you feeling trapped and take a chance. “It is better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t done” Follow those dreams, holding them tight doesn’t make them real, live them. I dreamed of doing the Tour Divide for 7 years, every year I put it off, I always had some excuse. I sacrificed a lot to make that dream come true. Being out there, riding my bike everyday, seeing so much of this land was an experience that lives with me everyday. I can clearly remember riding along the top of the divide at sunset heading towards Atlantic City, the road twists and turns staying right atop the spine of the continent. The sun was hitting snow covered peaks on one side and the sage hills of the Basin alternated between glow and shadow on the other. I felt amazing, it was almost like my bike was hovering off the ground, I was spinning the pedals as fast as I could, I just couldn’t wait to see what was next, what was ahead. Yet I was completely engrossed in what was going on around me. I had never felt so high, so real in my life. Visions of the many wonderful, gorgeous places I had seen in the past days, weeks, years came rolling forth. I felt so grateful, thankful to be alive, to have been able to get through the low points of my life, to be a witness, subject of such greatness. At that moment I could only wonder why anyone wouldn’t want to get out here into the world and see some of this for themselves. It just makes it all worth while.