I wrote this over a year ago.
I’ve started to wonder how many of the things I really want to do are actually things I really want to do.
I know that many things I think I would like to do will never move beyond the realm of “yeah, that looks kinda fun”(rock climbing?)and I know there are things that I have really no interest in ever trying(yogilates..is that actually a thing?). That’s okay too.
I’ve started to pick apart this idea of doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff. I have a list, a very long one, of things that I would like to do in no particular order of importance. If hard pressed, I might call it a bucket list, but it’s always felt more like a grouping of things I think are cool and would be really fun and/or delicious to have done/eaten at some point in my life. But it feels a bit like they take away from the stuff that I’m actually doing. They hold themselves aloft as items in a future perfect that are obviously more fun and amazing and highlight reel worthy than anything I’m doing right now.
One of the things is ‘sail until I can’t see land. Wait until dark. Go swimming.’ (another thing on the list, surprisingly quite a few items after this one is learn to sail)
I think I know why that specifically is there. It’s because I have a desire to challenge my fear of the unknown (night sharks!)and the notion that I’m completely insignificant in the vastness of reality. Gives me the shivers just thinking about it. But there’s an underlying exhilaration that goes with that. Now compare that with what I did today.
I went for an hour long walk in the forest. On the face of it, I think most adventurous souls might agree that the first experience is by far the more exciting. And that might be true. But does life need to be thrilling all the time? Plus, there’s also the fact that I consider the forest to be the best example of here and now, touch-it-and-be-filled-with-awe microcosm/macrocosm, it’s big, it’s small, it’s big again, it’s small again ad infinitum..
Ok, so the forest doesn’t have an abyss that goes however many feet (on average 14,000′..which is not far off the average height of skydiving at 12,500’…coincidence?) immediately below my swimming body, but there is so much I’m surrounded by that is unknown. When we walk, I tend to sing so as to keep from startling bears or I’ll have some kind of running dialogue rehashing whatever conversation I felt I could have handled better..from 1994..and I’m most certainly not expending any effort ensuring that my passage is stealthy on any level. Though I can be quiet in the forest when I need to, I’m all about letting everyone know that a big galumphing human animal and her squirrel harassing swamp fox friend are on the way. But I often wonder how close I am passing to cougars, bears and other predators. I would say that I am mindful of the unknown, rather than being abjectly afraid of it.
Then there’s the micro macro of it all to give one a sense of insignificance…a friend dog who comes on walks with us is quite small and finds walking in a sea of ferns daunting. I stride unapologetically through those ferns. Then I have to clamber over a fallen tree, which is smaller than the stronger big trees still standing, which are larger than and smaller than all the way beyond the limits of my imaginings with regard to the universe. The vastness of it all can be really intimidating.
But, perhaps only for the reason that it’s something I’ve never done, the idea of swimming in a black ocean, miles from shore makes it onto the list. Walk in the forest is not on there at all. I wonder what my list would look like if I lived on a sailboat. I wonder if “live somewhere I can walk in the forest every day and be in awe of life…”
There’s the crux of it I think. Be in awe of life.
Seeking adventures and escapes and vacations and making lists of things to do that might enliven and engage are likely just various ways to remind myself to be in awe of life. It’s easy to forget that.
But even with that perspective I still have moments where I’m not completely sure the life I want for myself is the life I want for myself. The other funny spot I’ve put myself in by starting to think again on this array of potential excitements is the what is referenced in the first half of the post it’s included in. It’s from march of 2013 and I am talking about school and how I use it as a place to go when I’m not sure what else to do, regardless of the fact that I never make it there and end up somewhere defiantly tangential in comparison. 2 years ago I was talking about going to VIU Nanaimo (that’s the same) for marine mechanical (much more specific than present day) and being torn between a need to have a practical skill I can do anywhere in the world (which makes sense as a good proportion of things I’d like to do involve me living in various elsewheres) and completely trusting that my habit of going with the flow would pan out.
In 2009 I was working on boats in Vancouver. Too much city. Moved to the koots, worked in a cafe/grocery store. Too little ocean. Moved back to the island and started working on boats again. Too much been here, done this. Started to think about school. Had an uncompromisingly beautiful festival summer. Last festival of the year? Aurora in Powell River. Came here, saw, moved here, Live. Now? Working in a cafe but thinking about boats. Or school. Or writing a rock opera.
The possibilities are limitless.
Maybe all of the above, and then some.