For me, 2018 was pretty amazing. I got married and it was the best experience of my life. Being surrounded by everyone I love and care about on such an important day meant more than I can ever describe and the high from that experience lasted weeks. We also settled into our home and wrapped up some big DIY projects as well as having a giant veggie garden.
For our wedding and honeymoon, I was able to be off of work for roughly 2 and a half weeks. Before this, I had not had a continuous week off since February of 2017, over a year and a half prior. All my time off was in little bits, long weekends every now and then and no real “break”.
Looking back, I’m surprised how much I was able to cram in, with “cram” being the operative word. For me, being in the outdoors is a recharge I can’t live without. My job is making it progressively more difficult to use my time off. I learned long ago that our time is precious, it can be taken away at any time. While I was able to “cram” fun time in, its certainly not an ideal way to go about living. When I’m cramming shit in, life is out of balance.
On your deathbed, you’ll never think “I wish I worked more, and harder”. Your deathbed may be coming sooner than you think. Four years ago I had a serious MRSA infection out of nowhere. In the past two years I’ve known several people to get cancer diagnoses including my own father (for the 2nd time). Everyone’s alive thankfully, but its important to let mortality inform how you spend your time.
This year the theme of my trips were bigger mile days in less time. Next year I want to dial that back a bit and find a better balance between having too much boring camp time and not enough time to smell the roses. Crushing miles (for my abilities) on bike or by foot allows you to cover ground, complete a loop quicker, but it has its drawbacks. What I didn’t like about the way I designed some of my trips was when the mileage (bikepacking and hiking) needed per day felt more like a job to do. I have enough pressure in my professional life that I don’t need an extra pointless challenge on my off time.
I noticed that I see the least amount of wildlife when I’m trying to crush it. The wildlife is all still there, but my focus and awareness are elsewhere. There’s no telling what I’ve blown right by, looking at the trail right in front of my feet.
There’s not as much space to simply be present in the place where you are. There’s less time to compose photos, go swimming, explore off-trail, etc.
The solution is having more time in the bank generally speaking and working less. With the way things are now with my job, that’ll be impossible. So, I’ve got to figure something else out and I’m excited about what 2019 holds.