Pushing the next button

On a few occasions last year I mentioned that, over the past decade, my happiness had generally correlated with the volume of activity, which had in turn tended to spawn more frequent and especially longer writings here.  More interest has almost always meant more words.

Thankfully, this is has ceased to be the case, as my interest in writing here has declined along with life becoming busy, busy in a way that 12 months ago I would not have been able to understand.  My job is less flexible, and more serious.  If I don’t do something there, it does not get done, and if things do not get done bad stuff tends to happen.  We also bought this house, which is big and wonderful.  The current near-record winter hasn’t just given us lots of practice shoveling, and lots of clear moments marveling at the frosted Doug Firs in our yard, it has lengthened the list of things to modify, fix, and rebuild.  I’ve never been any good with a hammer, but now I not only want to learn that, but most other things having to do with our house and how to bring a 19th century building into the 21st century.

Plenty of challenges remain for us in the outdoors, especially with Littler Bear set to arrive in six weeks.  But I’ve entered the last 20% of my outdoor learning, where enjoyment and reacquaintance takes a up the lions share of time in the field, rather than learning.  Much to my surprise, I’ve found this winter that I much prefer to stay in town, and work on the house, recover from the work week, and take Little Bear on training walks to the doughnut shop and brewery.  I suppose this is called aging, or perhaps maturation.

I’ve been gradually fighting this transition for years, with many ill effects.  Stress management has become more challenging, as I find myself pulled stronger and in more directions.  Physically, my capabilities have increased but become more compartmentalized.  Long term, being better than ever at carrying heavy packs quickly seems to mean little in the face of hamstrings that have never been tighter.  Even in the face of the above paragraph, I still have a couple lifetimes worth of trips I’d like to do, in Montana alone.  In the past month I’ve been forced by the weight of circumstance to let go of these, at least for the near term, and let myself be content with lurking around town, while physically and mentally rebuilding.

Aside from letting immediate things go and taking a longer view, something house projects have forced on me like nothing before, this has taken the form of almost daily yoga and a deliberate rededication to reading books.  Yoga isn’t directly goal oriented, and certainly isn’t as fun as hiking, skiing, or mountain biking, but over the past decade my best physical efforts have always come after prolonged periods of doing yoga regularly, and I want to not be a creaky wreck in 15 years.  Actual, paper, books are a more complicated and wholistic thing.  From early elementary until 2.5 years ago I read multiple books a week, with few exceptions.  It was shockingly easy in the fog of parenting an infant to let that go, and far too easy in the last year of moving and jobs and general change to content myself with articles and forums and other net-only things.  I don’t think I need to elaborate on how relying on screens for relaxation is easy to take too far.  Neurologically I am far past my most flexible periods, but that is no reason to give up entirely.  And that is certainly what would be called maturation.


What content this website features will continue to evolve, while what it is and means will probably stay very static.  Blogs are a form of social media; I wouldn’t write quite the same if I didn’t intend the words to be read, and wouldn’t consider just writing for myself anyway.  I’ve met far too many interesting people because of this venue, something which has happened more frequently than ever in the past years (Stans in Hanksville, the Doctor’s office last week).  But blogs are an old form of social media, fitting for an increasingly old person such as myself.  So, having found my home I am resolved to let change happen as it will.  That will mean at least a little letting go of my old identity, but with the world as it is today I want to make a point to let my real life drive content on the internet, rather than the other way around.

8 responses to “Pushing the next button”

  1. “how to bring a 19th century building into the 21st century”. If you ever want free advice — from my wife, who did her PhD on a victorian building insulation and who is interested in retrofitting old buildings — drop me an email. While I am sure the advice would be sound and helpful, it comes with the caveat ‘I am volunteering my wife’s help before even asking her, so that might not work in practice with the responsiveness I am envisioning’.

    You can ask free advice from me but I am useless at looking after building and at DIY.

    1. You’ll get an email soon. Would be interested to hear her thoughts on masonry structures versus the ballon/frame houses which like ours were already standard here in the 1890s.

  2. Still reading. Still enjoying. Regardless of time passed between posts.

  3. I have much appreciated a male point of view of adjusting to parenthood, especially with someone who used to be in a heavily outdoor based lifestyle. Those are hard to come by and even the ‘mommy blogs’ I follow don’t address the life changes that becoming a parent addresses, and there are even fewer women outdoor enthusiasts who blog about parenthood and being outdoorsy.

    I’ll be here reading when you write—I had to do that myself.

  4. You don’t even know busy yet……..many people think a second child will be “easier” ……ha ha ha …..no no no probably more like triple the work. And the looks you may get when you head off frolicking into the wilderness while mom manages the jungle back home. Just wait! You’ll go a whole year hoping to get a 5 day wilderness trip in…….and now T-ball is starting

    On a side note long time reader here living over in Potomac on the SW corner of the Bob. I have similiar thoughts on adventure and maturation and even boredom for many activities I lived and breathed for 20 years……day trip recreation doesn’t do it for me and we’re pretty much down to dreamed about high wilderness adventures. Interesting how life goes can’t say I am much of a fan of anything over the age of 37.

    One note of advice…it took me 10years to truly get out of shape. Even when I thought I was out of shape 5 years ago I could still hump up 6000 feet In the MissionMountains on a spring ski adventure. But now,…I am truly out of shape and and no longer in the position to just suck it up and feel like shit and go….too far gone for that.

    The comeback is coming maybe BMWO 2019……love the route this year and a real adventure but not the trip to make my comeback on!!!!!! Keep up the long trips it’ll keep the adventure in it.

    Thanks drop me a line sometime I pretty much spend any free time I can find In the Bob. I’ll take you on a true wilderness horse/mule adventureback there. There’s many ways to run with stock and not what you see typically with outfitters and the normal weekend horseman and all the shit they bring.

  5. You’ll be fine. You just have to shift gears. You can still spend time outdoors, just a different kind of time with family. The family shelter (house) is necessary and can be fun when you learn how to use the proverbial hammer and all the other new tools/skills.

    I did less backpacking and more camping with two small kids. The logistics of camping was easier and more fun for everyone involved. Get some time alone in the wilderness when you can, and relish the family time. In a blink of an eye you’ll get to the next phase (empty nest) with the old buttons still intact and some new ones to push.

  6. Congrats on cub #2. Don’t worry about what strangers on the internet think of you (including me.) You’re right on with the desire to “let my real life drive content on the internet, rather than the other way around.” And having produced 4 offspring in 5 years, I can confirm that you will change and change is good.

  7. Great post. I don’t have any kids of my own but a nephew (3) and niece (6 months). I really want to take them outdoors because when I am out backpacking or car camping I miss them terribly. I mean, I really start to feel sad that I am distant and can’t share “nature” with them. I know their parents and grandparents won’t really ever want to go out into nature the way I like to. I’ve settled on the little outings near home. SImple walks in the park or to an artificial steam with birds. Maybe when they are a bit older and less work I can get them car camping but for now it’s compromise.
    “Happiness is only real when shared” right? :) I think it’s a maturation or coming of age thing but I too have spent less time working on camping projects are more time maintaining and helping with home projects.

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