Archives

Shaving off my corners …

When I wasn’t the Test Dummy, I was The Chronicler.

Can people change? Do they? I believe they can. I also believe that the vast majority don’t, at least not without serious motivation and effort.

Once upon a time I was known as The Test Dummy.

It’s not that I had no fear, but rather that fear never stopped me from pushing my limits. I was not exactly reckless. I fully understood consequences. I just did not let the possibility of negative consequences stop me from trying something. I knew my limits. I also knew when those limits could be extended. I would stop only when possibility became probability. In other words, if a bad outcome was the ONLY possible outcome, I would (probably) show restraint.

Why do I bring this up?

Since my physical journey stalled, I have slipped into a state of limbo. I am existing instead of living. I recently had a regular check up with my doctor, and discussed this with her a little. She (rightly) sees this as depression, and recommended I seek counseling. In our discussion, she said to me that sometimes people have to be willing to jump off a cliff. That made me laugh internally. I am The Test Dummy after all. But it also made me think.

Have I actually changed that much?

I don’t think I have. But I do recognize that the weight of experience in an unkind world has siphoned my energy level enough that what I once did without thought I now need to convince myself to do. THIS I am not so happy about. Have I started let the insidious siren song called FEAR actually influence me?

I don’t know that counseling is the answer for me. One cannot fit a square block in a round hole without altering either the block or the hole. In my mind, counseling is just trying to reshape the block to fit in the hole, when the problem may actually be the hole itself. I am no fan of society as we know it. For me to actually fit in it would require society to change an awful lot. It’s not that I feel somehow superior to others, but rather that the shape society has taken has not been defined by what is best for humanity as a whole, but rather by those who would mold things to conform to their own selfish needs.

Some might call this a midlife crisis. In my mind, neither my attitudes nor my desires have changed since my youth. I just understand them better. Ironically this does not help clarify a very uncertain future any more than when I was younger. What I lack most is purpose, something I seemed to find much easier when I was younger. So where do I go from here? That is really the question that needs to be answered, and that is precisely the answer that I do not have. The only certainty I have is that simply existing is not going to cut it.

Time to start living again.

Learning to play a game with broken rules

One of the reasons I took on this journey in the first place was a fundamental disrespect for the society we live in. I find many of our societal priorities completely backwards. If anything, much of what the mainstream considers important actually makes me cringe. I have been told many times that I need to learn to compromise, but my definition of compromise means that all parties give a little. The definition of compromise in our “me” centered society has metamorphosed into “do as the more powerful party wants and learn to like it”. I simply can’t play by broken rules, no matter how much easier they would probably make aspects of my life.

It is an interesting linguistic fact that the concept of “give and take” is always expressed in that order, no matter the language. Give ALWAYS comes first. Since language is ultimately just a representation of the way we perceive reality, how is it that we tend to live in the exact opposite way. Much of the human world … especially the modern world … is driven by The Profit Motive, which is really “take and give”. Too many of us will not do ANYTHING without some sort of personal gain or recompense. We take first, and if we feel satisfied we might give in return.

Like I said, to me that is totally backwards. My personal philosophy is if someone needs something from me and  I have the resources and the skills needed, then I will give them what they need, expecting nothing in return. THis does not mean I won’t accept a reward if offered, but I neither expect or require it. In other words, I find it difficult to ask for money for something that I am willing to do for free. Admittedly this make my life very difficult at times in a “what’s in it for me?” world, but I am who I am, and frankly like that person.

A major draw of the hiking community is many understand that GIVE come first. People take care of each other, and often if one can’t “pay” for services, pay it forward comes into play. Barter is frequent. This kind of living makes a lot more sense to me, and makes for a much friendlier and happier community. Unfortunately, as much as I think this is the way the world SHOULD operate, it plain and simply doesn’t, which means I am usually scrabbling to survive (at least financially).

Basically, I need to make some money to survive in a world I don’t like. I no longer have the patience to work at a to me pointless job just to pay for bills that would not exist without the job. I have skills that I can use, but as I said, if I CAN do something for another I will … pay or no. And if I actually enjoy doing it, I might just do it for the sake of doing it. For instance, I have skill with writing and photography, and I guess I should be able to make some money with either or both. Yet it goes totally against my grain. Art, especially, is MEANT to be shared. So I dabble with selling my skills, never really getting anywhere because my heart is not in it.

Sometimes having a moral code is a pain in the butt!

In the meantime, while I try to figure out how to get paid for something that I love to give away, here is a crayon drawing from one of my trip pictures. It may not resolve any of my issues, but I think it looks pretty good and I enjoyed making it. Hopefully you will enjoy it as well. Feel free to reward me for it if you feel so inclined. KIDDING! Mostly.

Crayon mountains