From this blog on May 26, 2011:
‘“Big dreams.” I reply quickly. For a while there at my desk I could no longer imagine a better life than racing between passion and profession, scrambling, scrimping, just getting enough of each to resemble a commitment, but never reaping the rewards of real dedication. Releasing it all, the options loom large and the big dreams for my life flood back in. It’s all on the table again, rather than the slim possibilities afforded by a desk job I fell into and existed on because someone else offered it to me.’
Another rainy afternoon in Missoula, and I’m whining about not climbing. I spent yesterday, which was mostly gorgeous (or at least, nice enough that climbing would have been the expected activity), supporting the awesome team that I work with participate in the Homeward Sustainability Tour. Was I more committed to climbing, or more committed to sharing what I know about a sustainable built environment? Thoughts about big dreams, about balance, and places to live with year round good climbing weather creep to the front of my brain. Suddenly, the quote above rings true. Am I back in the grind?
Yes,… and no. Thursday night I pulled a muscle in my hand at the climbing gym. I was warmed up and had been climbing regularly, but something just popped- that’s how it goes. I’ll be out of climbing for a week or more, and that’s tough- I don’t remember the last time I was this motivated about rock climbing. That said, the weather has been crappy and I haven’t been pulling on real rocks nearly enough. I was tempted to think “why didn’t I move to a place with better weather [more partners/more climbing terrain/more whatever]?” I haven’t often felt doubt about being in Missoula, but when I consider what I’m committed to, it’s not really about the climbing and it makes sense that I’m here.
I like talking about my commitment to my sport, to training, to being outside, but the fact is that deep down I’m more committed to making a contribution to the fabric of our society (via changing the way we relate to our natural resources), than to being a climbing bum or an athlete. When people ask me about what I do, more than ever- I tell them I have my dream job. I get to make things actually happen, I work for a team that truly believes in me and supports me, and that challenges, educates, and rewards me in equal measure. I didn’t expect to find this being a contractor, or being in Montana. Certainly there is a balance, and certainly I can carry some commitments outside the office, but at the core of it, making a name for myself and my organization as a leader in sustainability in this community takes precedence.
I find some sadness in that commitment, some envy of those that have chosen otherwise, and some frustration in not being able to blend the two more seamlessly. No doubt, my passion for sustainability comes from being in wild places, and that my work ethic in the office translates just as well to my ethic for adventure. Commitment is a two edged sword that way- it is about doing without some things (living in my car with unlimited freedom and endless climbing), and doing more of others (getting at real sustainable buildings). So yes, I am still split between my passions, but no- this time it’s different. After spending a year on this journey- the place that I’m in is the product of my own core values and careful decision making. If these factors take me elsewhere, I will go- but maybe this is just how my life is, one passion enriching the other.