Zen On Dirt

Ending on an exhale


I’ve been thinking a lot about death this week.

I don’t think this is a bad thing, necessarily. I think that the daily acknowledgement that we’re not going to be around forever is a good way to avoid wasting time. I think it’s good to look back at each day and wonder if I made the most of it. It’s a good way to stand up from Facebook, knowing that I don’t want one of my five regrets on my deathbed to be ‘I wish I’d spent less time on Facebook’. Note: I love theFaceBook. I think it has it’s place in life. But it does irritate me when I find myself on it for no good reason other than boredom. Waiting for something to happen on theFacebook is not a viable alternative to making something happen in real life. 


I was hoping that the Camino Del Diablo trip would satiate me for a little while. Let me sit down, get some work done, save up some money for the summer and/or this thing called retirement that my mom keeps telling me I have to save for. I passed up a three day trip to Kearney and all the bike riding opportunities that arose from there in order to ‘work’.


Two winters ago, when I had lots of time to spare, being newly single, unemployed, and fairly lost in life, I sat down and wrote the vast majority of what one would refer to as a book about my experience on the Tour Divide. Then life started picking up, Scott sent me an email inviting me down to Tucson, I went, Iditarod happened, AZTR happened, a summer in Durango happened, sickness, health, injury happened, a job that involved writing happened, all in all, a beautiful interpretation of life happened…and my attempt at book writing fell by the wayside.


My goal for this week was to revive it. It’s seen several small bursts of motivation in the past 16 months, and I figured that with Scott out of the house laying out the trail for a Ripsey reroute due to a mine, I could sit down and and crank out some editing and rewriting.


It didn’t happen. A good number of other things happened, afternoon bike rides, finally getting a new phone, reading in the sun, watching the goings-ons at our sketchy neighbors, talking to the chickens (we get six eggs some days!). But really, what I feel like I spent the majority of my time doing was daydreaming about going places and eating good food and meeting cool people.


I woke up at 4am the other morning and panicked. With a birthday fast approaching, I’m becoming acutely aware of the whole biological clock issue. That on one hand, I want to tour the world, see Peru, Chile, Argentina, Tibet, New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, and Mongolia, far more than a lifetime of places, but on the other hand, if, heaven forbid, I decide I want to have a family…well, I’m not 23 with an endless amount of time in front of me. Clearly, 4 am is a perfect time to be thinking about this stuff. Makes for good sleep.

This panic, along with some fairly bad news about illness and death coming from other corners of my life, made it really hard to sit inside all week and stare at a computer screen. As much as I’d love to have something published with my name on it, would I rather have said yes to an opportunity to ride someplace new for a few days? As much as I’d love to have a retirement account and so called financial security, wouldn’t I rather have a memory full of experiences and deal with things as they come?


I know there’s a balance in there. I just don’t know where it is.


The Camino reminded me of what I love to do. Really, truly love. Instead of satiating the desire for being outside, all day, all the time, cooking in the dirt and not caring if I spill, watching the moon rise and the sun set, it stoked the fire. I was not meant to sit still. There’s stuff to do.

Better get to it.


2 thoughts on “Ending on an exhale

  1. I’ve always said there are two groups of people out there, observers & participants. I prefer to be watched for a while.

  2. Love your posts. Nice to know I’m not the only one questioning what’s right for my life. Seems like it should be easy, but not always so for me.

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