I had two conversations with people from my past today. The first, a physics professor who I’d taken classes from as an undergrad who was also a bike rider (and also happens to be teaching the class that I’m TA’ing for). The second conversation, with the lovely Mara who’s reach back in my life stretches to swimming days and then a series of frequent and not-so-frequent life intersections as we’ve both navigated school, bikes, and yoga.
The first conversation started as many of my Boulder conversations start: Where have you been, what have you been doing? Those are easy questions to answer. Then the inevitable: What are you doing now? After having been asked this question countless times, you’d think I’d have a prepackaged answer, but I don’t, so I stumble.
‘Well, I’m TA’ing this spring. I missed using my brain and I missed teaching, so I’d like to go back and teach physics and math.’ I continued, ‘I’m thinking of getting my teaching certificate starting this fall and then teaching high school after.’ Then I laughed, ‘If there’s one useful life skill I have, I can explain physics and math pretty well.’
I almost had myself convinced.
Then after some money making ventures involving teaching math, I finally connected for coffee with Mara, a feat that we’d been attempting to accomplish for the better part of a month, ever since Mara gave the most honestly brutal and open interview to Velonews I’ve ever heard. (On a side note, I think every female competitive cyclist should listen to it, as well as parents/friends/loved ones of those female cyclists. 40 minutes long, but worth it.) We’d reconnected with the understanding, ‘Life threw me some shit. Life threw you some shit. I’m back in Boulder, let’s do coffee.’
After normal pleasantries such as, ‘What brought you back to Boulder?’ to which I could only laugh, we started talking life, and between the two of us, we had some good life to talk about. I told her how I was living under the story of going back to school to do something useful and steady with my life, but really, if I could pull it off, I had every intention of spending summer in Durango and then hightailing it down to Tucson for next winter. I wanted to put an honest effort into my current writing project (calling it a ‘book’ still intimidates me, so we’ll call it a project), I wanted to drum up some more high paying teaching work, I wanted to ride my bike, and not just in an after-work manner.
Telling this story brought much more of a smile to my face than the story I’d told earlier in the day of heading along the path of a ‘real’ job.
I told her the truth about the major flaw in my teaching-as-a-real-job plan: There’s a little race in New Zealand next February that I really want to do, and if I’m going to procure the Ambien to fly all the way to New Zealand, I want to spend at least a month there. I can’t do that with a teaching job.
We talked about assessing our talents, about our inabilities to settle for anything less than the best we can do, and trying to piece together the many pieces called life in a sustainable manner. Code cracking, if you will.
We’ve both found ourselves with a reset button pushed. We both get to choose where we go from here. I, for one, can’t wait to see where Mara takes her story (but secretly I’m hoping that her story and my brother’s story intersect in 2016 so I can go visit Rio).
And at the same time, I’m remembering that I’m the author of my own story. My life. Right now.