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.