January 17, 2005

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I’ve been in Hood River all of four days, and I’ve already seen snow, rain, sleet, ice, and freezing rain. The only thing I haven’t seen is the sun. I assume it’s still there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was iced over as well.

Ever so slowly, I’m adjusting to a far more relaxed pace. This is more profound than it sounds, as relaxing is definitely not something that comes easy for me. Relax means to allow lax that which was lax before. I have never been much of one for lax, so to actually relax, to revisit a lax that may have existed previously, is rather difficult.

I always need to have a couple projects going on to satisfy the mad monkey of the mind. Previously it was planning my trip to Baja, but now that I’ve ironed out all those details, all that remains is to pack, get on a plane, and kiteboard for two weeks.

Previously it was moving to Hood River, but now with two whirlwind commutes under my belt, and a six-foot pile of boxes in my tiny bedroom, all I need to do is unpack. Which I’m not going to do. Ever.

Previously it was hammering out applications and references for employment this summer. I want to lead canoe trips in the BWCA like something fierce, and I’m scheduled for an interview next week. All I can do now is wait. And arrange accidents for all the other applicants. And wait.

It’s just so hard to get myself to slow down, even for a moment. I feel like if I’m not in a full sprint to the horizon that I will never reach it. And if I pause to catch my breath and I still manage to reach it, I feel like the horizon that I set wasn’t far enough away. There’s so much in the world that I want to wrap my arms around, and it’s often infuriating how slowly these things progress.

I want to live in Hood River and kiteboard in Baja and paddle in Minnesota, but I also want to work in Alaska for a summer. I want to live on Maui for a winter. I want to make snowboard videos. I want to tour the world with professional kiteboarders. I want to work as a travel photographer. I want to visit New Zealand and Nepal and New Guinea. I want to see the Aurora Australis. I want to punch through the atmosphere of this glorious little planet and look down on it from space. I want to climb more mountains (no mountains in particular, just yet). I want to play bass in a punk band. I want to chase penguins while giggling like a madman.

All that? M’eh. I’m just getting warmed up. The most difficult task I have, and one that I am continually confronted with, is prioritizing these guys. Previously I had wanted to work as a windsurfing gear technician, a snowboard instructor, and a web designer, which have all been done. This is not to say that these are now off the list of future possibilities, quite to the contrary. If the path pulls me again in the direction of windsurfing tech or snowboard instruction or web design, I will consider them as options. Nevertheless, it’s convenient to look at them as check marks on a grand to-do list, if only because it allows me to arbitrarily eliminate a few options and focus on other ones.

So then, what next? The question moves from How can I enjoy this relaxed change of pace? to one of How can I use this sudden lack of activity to further my goals? So much has been done, but there is still so much to prepare for. There is so much to do that we cannot bear to squander a single minute to idleness.

Busy, busy, busy.

Dane–Glad to know you’re still alive. If I have learned anything from my time spent living in a small hovel in the middle of nowhere, it is that if one spends all his/her time planning for the next event, s/he cannot fully enjoy the one s/he is currently partaking in. Have a breakfast Coors and chill. Life should not be a grand ‘to-do list’–I know, easier said than done. Annie

Annie! We need to kidnap Luke and throw a party and break flower pots and trip on the dishwasher and hide in the coffin freezer with a chainsaw and do brown sugar shots and have the brown sugar taken away so we can do baking soda and vinegar shots and get stuck in the laundry chute!
And if we can find Tom he can pour beer in my hair because he thinks it’s appropriate, and if we get Bernard we can make fun of his English beer that tastes like burned cheese and if we get Hank we can wear the one-eyed hat and steal shopping carts!
You’re totally right, Annie… or should I say you’re totally left? Whatever it is, you’re totally correct. My brain definitely needs to chill out with my Hood River homies, enjoy some high-altitude oxygen depletion and down a breakfast Coors or three.
Who woulda thunk that it’d be so hard to slow down, when you would think that it’d be far more difficult to keep on running?