Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Reasons

I've hummed and hawed about starting a blog for a while now. I suppose it’s actually been a year and a half - ever since I went to Majorca for a cycling trip. It was the first time I'd taken a holiday on my own and the first time I'd been to Europe. Beyond some outstanding cycling and sightseeing, I experienced a range of new and different cultures and, perhaps more importantly, a new perspective on life. For as long as I can remember, I had been moving in a fairly focused direction, a direction dictated by my career aspirations. My studies, my employment, my extracurricular activities, my social life, and my lifestyle were all largely guided by my career aspirations. Focusing every aspect of one's life around a singular objective like this is a very efficient, low-risk path to success. Conversely, it’s a very efficient path to losing perspective and forgetting aspirations that haven't fit in well with the singular path. I speak from experience. Life has been pretty good to me so far. Part of this is a result of factors outside of my control - I have a happy, healthy, supportive family, a companion that challenges and inspires me, and a great circle of friends. But in April 2004, the icing on the cake was my personal achievements and the life I had built for myself. After completing a series of academic milestones, which was followed by a couple of years of ups and downs and a lot of hard work with a start up firm, it was all coming together. I had my dream job. As far as I was concerned when I left for Spain in April 2004, I was just living it up by going so for a week of early season cycling.

From the moment I arrived, I felt something inside of me changing. I emailed my family and friends pretty much daily to try to express at least some of my experiences. This was a great way to share experiences with those who could not be there with me. I considered it better than any souvenir I could bring back - and, in fact, I've discovered that documenting my experiences is also a great souvenir for me. But perhaps the most valuable aspect of documenting my experiences was that, in the process of sorting through the appropriate way to articulate an experience, it offered me a chance to more intimately appreciate what it was that I was experiencing. Ultimately, I came away with a much deeper appreciation of even the simple details. Experiences that might otherwise have been forgotten as ordinary or negative, took on a positive and memorable character through this process. It was an opportunity for self discovery. As I reflected on an experience and consider how I responded to it, I learned more about myself, my values, my interests. It was a conversation with myself, disguised as a letter home, I suppose. And, in Majorca, I had the first conversations with myself that I'd had for as long as I could remember. It made me aware of the little world I had created for myself and the interests that I had somehow forgotten through my focus and determination.

In reading the daily emails from my trip, my boss apparently joked that he was worried I wouldn't come back. I'm not sure he realized it, but part of me didn't come back. I left behind a person with a very limited perspective on life. That's not to say I came back all knowing, I just came back knowing that I'm not all knowing and having a voracious appetite to broaden my horizons - quickly. I felt as though I'd wasted too much time with a limited take on life. There seemed to me to be an infinite amount of self development and learning ahead of me and a finite life to work within. I was inspired to pursue every opportunity for self development that I could.

This remains a focus for me. I reflect on my week in Spain often. I have focused a lot of attention on personal development over the last year and a half. A blog was something that seemed to make sense for me, since I had a new appreciation for the value of documenting my experiences and I've been traveling regularly since my trip to Spain (so there should presumably be a lot to write about). Each time I consider something that I would like to do or that I think I should do, I'm now much more inclined to get at it as soon as possible. But, sometimes I get stuck and my limited perspective prevents me from advancing toward my goal. This has been the case with this blog. I set up my photo website in the spring as a first step in starting a blog. I registered my domain name in the summer. But I kept finding reasons why it wasn’t the right time. I had nothing to write about. I didn’t have time. Who would want to read this stuff anyway? My first post had better be a good one. So much pressure.

And then today I arrived home and Erik was getting ready to go for a bike ride. It's -25 degrees Celsius outside, the roads are covered in ice and snow and the sun has set. My perspective is that this kind of weather seems like a pretty good excuse to stay inside. But Erik is special. He inspires me. He knows that riding outside for 2 hours and 50 minutes when it’s this cold only builds character. He can find a way to appreciate what most of us choose not to. It's a matter of perspective I guess. He is so keenly aware that his life is ending one minute at a time.

Not seeing the weather as an excuse not to bike kind of makes my excuses not to start my blog seem small. Thanks to Erik, I've found the inspiration to make my first post. I realize this barely holds together, I'm hoping it’s a function of having a year and a half of pent up energy and unarticulated thoughts. But I figure there's no sense in wasting any more time and it should only get easier from here. I'm doing this for my sanity. I'm doing this because my life is ending one minute at a time. I'm doing this to keep perspective on life.



Blogger Rory and Company said...

Okay fooled you, it's Rory's mom here.
That was a fantastic read. I like to hear your mind's conversation. Funny we should end up hundreds of kilometers apart but share such similar thoughts. I think we are taking pieces of what we learned as kids and they are sinking in as we head down our separate paths. I can hear Mom saying: "you should keep a journal" every time I write in my blog. It just took having a child to make me realize that it was important to where I want to be in 20 years.
Keep up the great work - no pressure!

December 4, 2006 at 11:06:00 PM MST  

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