This Blog

This blog is dedicated to explorations of spirit, life, adventure, and people. I hope that it encompasses much more than the actions of people, but rather creates a more complete picture of what it means to be an athlete and a person in the outdoor community.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chasing Shadows

A Jackson Rock Star shines blue steel

Who cares about success? Trying to fit yourself into the box of success is an exhausting venture. We spend our lives trying to copy other people, studying what works and emulating it as best we can. But we can’t. We are our own people and we play by our own rules. Jobs try to fit us into categories but none of us are perfect. I try to teach math, but I am no math teacher, I try to coach kayaking, but I am no kayaking coach, I play dad, psychologist, counselor, philosopher, disciplinarian, adult, cook, nurse. I am none of these things. I have been trained to do these things but I am only me. I double dip, I forget to clean my dishes, I get frustrated and tired, I am not worthy of these tasks, I am not perfect.

A moment of perfection
What are we even trying to live up to anymore? I am not Evan Garcia, I am not Richard Montgomery, I am not Rick Stock. We are on our own journey, have our own strengths. We can only be who we are, fight to be better, and learn from our experiences. It will never be perfect. It will always be a mess. It always seemed so clean when I thought about life. I will just teach math, or I will just be a raft guide, or I will be a researcher. But you are not as savvy, as smart, as responsible, as you think you need to be to get it done. We can never live up to the expectations we build up for ourselves if we live in the shadow of our heroes.

Thoughtless flight 
Move on. Joan Didion wrote “innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself” and eventually ends with “to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect”. Ultimately we cannot hold ourselves to the standard that we assume we need, or that others want us to have. We can move on in earnest, each journey is unique and what we can do is keep our heart and mind tuned into compassion, learning, and what we love.  Ultimately what others think can give us some guidance, but should be considered a small piece of the information we use to understand ourselves and chisel out our self- identity. We must live for ourselves.

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