Living the Outdoor Life: A Balancing Act
|onward and upward! (photo by Kevin.)|
Jules and the rest of the Peruvian-bound team, sporting 40-pound packs, determined the training day would be fruitless unless we completed the 1.7 mile loop four times. Even with just my small day pack and water, it was a long day. While all of the 20-somethings in Philly were out drinking, laughing, and staying up late, I was sound asleep.
Sunday morning came, and I had planned a day of climbing in Birdsboro with friends from the rock gym. It would be an educational trip for me – more leading, more anchor-setting, more lead belaying, etc. When my alarm went off, I glanced over at Dan, still fast asleep after working from 3pm to 3am. His 3pm to 11pm shift Sunday would prevent him from climbing outdoors with me – again.
His schedule as of late has kept him from doing a significant portion of the fun things I do, as he never gets weekends off, and works through the evenings. While I’m at the rock gym, out to dinner, or out on a hike, he’s at work. So, I made the decision to forgo a day of leading and toproping, and instead biked with Dan down to a little bouldering spot we’d heard about along the Schuylkill River Trail. We goofed around, made up our own problems, and spent a wonderful three hours playing outside.
I've come to understand that my life consist of a series of decisions, with each decision contributing to maintaining a balance. I balance work, play, friends, family, my wallet, my various recreational activities, Dan, and a million other things I can’t think of at the moment. If any one of these things receives too much, or not enough attention, I don’t feel right. Deciding to skip a potentially awesome day of leading outdoors and to go bouldering near home instead was a good decision, a decision that kept me in balance.
If I don't spend enough time outside, my internal balance falters, which means I'll often make decisions that keep me out of bars with my friends, and in bed resting up for a day, or weekend, of hiking or climbing. This hasn't always been the case, but for some reason, it is at the moment. I've found this to be an extremely difficult balancing act; I always enjoy nights out with friends, regaling each other with tales of god knows what over a glass of wine, or dancing our pants off. But I've found myself sacrificing more of those nights out for the sake of keeping my balance recently, which, on occasion, makes me feel antisocial and left out.
But what I’m beginning to understand is that each decision I make is for a reason – to help me maintain my balance. And sometimes, although very infrequently, preserving that balance might involve forgoing a full night’s sleep before a hike for a raging night out. Or perhaps the opposite...
The bottom line – we are all involved in an incredible balancing act. What does yours look like?