Friday, May 30, 2008
Focus is an important thing. Whether you're talking about something as simple as taking a picture, picking your way through technical singletrack, or just looking at your path through life. If you don't focus, chances are you're going to run into something you didn't see coming. One could argue that I'm lacking focus right now and have been for a while. the picture I've put up is a pretty good representation of my life at this point in time.
At first glance, it's a snapshot. Things look good, I'm happy, I'm motivated, and I'm moving in the right direction. However, when you start looking closely, you'll see the edges are blurred, I'm looking at the camera instead of following the line, and the smile is mostly put on for the benefit of others. It's pretty amazing the similarities I can draw in my life to those items. While I can't complain too loudly as I'm healthy, have a great family, and am gainfully employed at a job that pays well enough for my wife to stay home, there's turmoil under the surface.
The same job that affords us the life we want does so at a cost to my mental well being. I know everyone has a job that's a grind and that's the tradeoff we make to have the enjoyment we want in other areas of life. But when you are on the verge of dreading going to work on a daily basis, go out of your way to not do your work, and can see the apathy towards your work spreading into other areas of your life, I think those are pretty good signs that something needs to change. I have no clue about what else I WANT to do, but I'm pretty sure it's not this. My job really isn't even that hard, but when you're not interested or stimulated, it can seem like the biggest drag in the world.
So what does all this have to do with focus you ask? I'm not exactly sure, but I think my job is the center of things beginning to fall apart. I ride to escape from work and in doing so I also escape things that I shouldn't be running from. I skip out on my duties as husband and dad. I skip out on other commitments that I have made. I skip out on taking on my own demons. I just escape when I ride. I push myself to go further, faster, harder, and in the end I tire myself out to the point that everything else really doesn't matter. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the riding immensely, but the reasons I ride now aren't what should be driving me. An enlightened and surprising discussion with my own dad on Memorial Day led to this revelation. He suggested that I should take a look at the reason I'm biking to escape and work on fixing that rather than work so hard on wearing myself out on the bike that the other things don't matter. He was right.
Damn, now I had to actually set down and figure out what I need to do. At least in my case, it was relatively clear for most of the things I needed. The biggest thing is that we need to find ourselves as a family. With our current setup I'm a paycheck and Miranda is a parent and we don't do a whole lot of overlapping. That's pretty sad when you really look closely at it. I've got a wife and 2 year old little girl that I love to death, but I'm spending my time avoiding them. I've let my own personal goals become my focus in lieu of working on the things that are going to be a constant for the rest of my life. Definitely near sighted of me. As much as I'd like to shoulder the blame all alone, I can't. My dear wife has very similar issues to me. We're both living to get done with our day and then escaping into our own little worlds as soon as that day ends- mine with leaving work and hers with putting Corley to bed.
All of these thoughts and ideas finally came out in a multi hour discussion last night. We talked about the things we need to change, the things we want to do, and the things that just aren't working for us. We put together a plan and we both came away happy. We each had to make certain concessions to bring us closer as a family, but I can't see how that is a bad thing. I'm sure I'll reap more in the long term than I could possibly ever gain in a short span.
As such, I'm giving up a few things that really didn't matter that much even though I'd made them into something big. I'm not going to Burning Man this year. I'd love to and even have a free ticket, but I'm not doing it without my family. I'm hanging up my pipe dreams of getting fit enough to try my hand at bike racing for the time being. I'm even talking about getting rid of my car (which for those that know me know that's something huge). Miranda is going to dedicate herself to working on our business and selling product rather than just ordering. We're going to take an evening each week to focus on our relationship as a couple. I'm going to not take on any more commitments until I get all of my current projects cleared up.
While all of this may seem overwhelming, it's a long term plan. I really feel like I'm not swimming alone now and I've got a partner in working through some of these things. I'm excited about seeing our family come together. I'm sure I'll miss out on some activities, but it's going to be worth it.