Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Balance by default

The other day, someone told me that pursuing balance in life is hopeless, because inevitably you create stressor in this pursuit… and thus never achieve real balance. What instead we should be pursuing is passion, because in this pursuit, all the little imbalances and stressors are forgotten and by default we end up achieving balance. It’s a little backwards, but with a little objectivity its so clearly true. This totally resonates with me right now… I’m finally over in Switzerland… and my ability to succeed is going to be completely dependent on dropping the little things I have no control over, and simply pursue my passion.

I lost sight of this some over the past couple months. I had great training in Arizona, but was trying to control variables beyond my control, and I felt like I was constantly overwhelmed. And then I came back to Bozeman, and had a great 10 days spending time with friends, relaxing and got some good training in what was spring like weather. It was a chance to rest my body after a long 3 weeks in the sun, and more importantly rest my mind. Of course the weather didn’t hold, and so in 24 hrs I had to either purchase a plane ticket back to Arizona or hop into the car for an 8hr drive back to Washington for 10 days. I was a little unsure what the weather would bring back home, but two hours after chatting with Jason about the options, I found my car pointed west. It was an incredibly low stress week at home, exactly what I needed, and completely the right decision because I had some time to check most of the nagging details off my to do list; in addition to getting 9 really good days of training and resting in.

While I was there the magnitude of what I am doing with myself for the next couple of seasons really dawned on me. For some reason I was under the impression that I would be bouncing back and fourth between the US and Switzerland… spending 6-8 weeks at a time in Europe, and then returning home for needed R&R. I think receiving my plane tickets ten days before leaving for Switzerland was a kind of wake up call though… Feb 23-Oct 18. That’s 8 months right? And yes I will be back in the States, but hardly… for Sea Otter Ill fly to California, for the North American World Cups I’ll fly to the East Coast. Maybe I’ll make it back to Bozeman for a day or two before Nationals, but then I have to be back in Europe for a race the following weekend… I’m over here full time. Big Time. I’m glad I realized it before I left the country!

So last Monday when I got back into Bozeman I had less than 72 hrs to move… I packed up my house (save my bed) with Keegan’s help, and loaded it into what is now an overflowing storage unit. I said goodbye to my new roommates, and spent a great evening with some of the people closest to me… Keegan, Karina, Jamie, Micah, Fix, Mike… It turned into one of those nights that reminds me of what life is really about, and how critically important it is to be able to share our successes and our strengths; and our failures and our weaknesses with one another. Its what gives color and substance to life.

I briefly forgot all this as I was running clear across the Chicago Airport 24 hrs later. I had 50 min from landing until my flight to Zurich. I was sweating and breathing heavy as I cut to the front of the international security line, hearing my name being called over the intercom, and nearly threw a temper tantrum when TSA decided my blackbeans, stew, avocado and cilantro might be a bomb. Good thing they checked it for harmful vapors… sometime I fear for our own security because of our overzealous security. Its enough to push anyone over the edge… But I gained my composure once I climbed onto that flight.

The past few days have been incredible… I’ve gotten my new 29’er (that’s right, big wheels!) dialed in, and spent time riding in the sunshine on the trails and roads that wind through the vineyards. Its still totally glacial in the endless Alps that crown the Valais, but in Sierre its been 50 and downright agreeable. Pretty much everything I hoped it would be. I’m staying at a bed and breakfast for the week, which has been a very good setup, until we take off for South Africa on Friday. I feel like I am in limbo, unpacking bags of stuff I need this week, while simultaneously packing for this trip, and putting the things I don’t need away into another bag, to await my return and subsequent move into my Apartment in Fully. I spend all day today at a photo shoot, about an hour and a half from Valais, feebly attempting to stay warm while I wore my new down jacket in between photo sets where we wore nothing but shorts and a short sleeve jersey. You’ll all see the photos later… just keep in mind for the 3hrs we spend taking them, it was maybe 35 degrees out with just enough wind to take to take all the wind out of my sails. It felt pretty pro though :) I hope that’s the way the rest of the season feels!