On December 24th, 2017 I turn 30 years old. I told myself time and time again that I didn't care. That age was just a number. That it's all in your head. But recently, for some reason, it seemed to change. As time draws ever forward I can't help but psychoanalyze myself, my present and my past, in some doomsday style apocalypse where it all ends tomorrow.
Lost in my head, I ask all sorts of existential questions...What is it that I have done in my life? What is it that I, want to do? What marks will I leave? The passing of my 20's seems to mark a checkpoint in my life that I didn't seem to recall happening before. The fragility of life thrust into my prefrontal cortex, consuming hours upon hours of my waking moments.
I do believe that I, more than most, have had the pleasure of taking life by the horns and pursuing with all of my being that which breaths fire into my soul. Though I do not want to diminish the impacts others have made on my life, I do give much credence to our personal locus of control, or at least the illusory nature of agency that eternal "I" bestows upon each of us. With out much else in terms of a mystical paradigm I believe this "locus", whatever it may be, gives meaning and purpose to the seeming agency of bubbling quarks and atoms that makes me, me. A life consumed by the mountains, by love, by lust, and by those things in which equally challenge, educate, and humble me.
So what does this mean?
Is this some sort of circadian rhythm of life that I never knew existed? Is it an existential crisis of meaning and purpose? Have I been living without an integral part of a fulfilling life? Is my subconscious screaming for companionship, for a house, or home? Have I taken the wrong path in life? Can we ever really be said to have it figured out? Or are those who profess a stable life of self-actualization just lost in a comfortable illusion until life inevitably happens?
I do think it is natural to wonder about the insecurities of life, sure, but I have been blessed (or cursed) by a life free of this burden for nearly as long as I can remember. Never worried about what might happen, in a whimsical consciousness that rarely speaks but always knows that no matter what happens, "It'll all be okay". I think that attribute has been a strong suit of mine in life, reducing stress, and allowing me opportunities in life that others may not have pursued. It is what makes me calm in the face of dynamic circumstances. Those exact circumstances that I find myself in most, as a guide, mentor, friend, and ultimately as a passenger on our beloved Spaceship Earth.
As I wrestle with these thoughts I can't help but reflect on where I am now. A man obsessed with play. A playful disposition to life, to love, to work. I spend my time juggling just enough work to make it possible to play as much as I can. Recently this involved taking up the craft of stone masonry in my hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Ozark soil giving me a glimpse of where I came from, a life of working hands. Its rock and clay subtly reminding that life is inherently playful, but in time, takes work.
Self-improvement is "time in the saddle", nothing else, there are no shortcuts. In that vein, I have pursued improving myself physically more than I ever have in my life. I have dedicated 180 hours (as of this writing) over the past four months towards improving myself physically. Much of which has come over the past month averaging about 15 hours a week. This in preparation for the dynamic nature of the mountain environment, for guiding, for the mountains, and ultimately for Denali come Summer 2018. I, without too much conscious awareness, have prioritized my life in a way that allows me to be as strong as I can, as healthy as I can, and allows others to deem me, "clinically insane" from time to time. Which the jury is still out on final verdict for this one.
I guess all this means is that I caught myself swimming against the current of life. For each day, each moment is a continuous opportunity for the reinvention of the self. For me and for you. And the only sane way forward that I can tell, is not to eddy out, or swim against the current, in that, one only risks drowning. The key is to let go. To float effortlessly down river until another time when the wake takes you by surprise.
"There's no better guarantee of failure than convincing yourself that success is impossible and therefore never even trying."
- Max Tegmark, Our Mathematical Universe