Stereotypical Summer

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My feet smell like vinegar. Gross. Where did this summer go? Between worrying about school, escaping into the outdoors and renovating the house, the summer has been non existent. I’ve either been bored out of my mind or so busy the days blur together.

That’s typical, I guess. Life is like that. You just notice it more in the summer when you’re supposed to having either a dream break or dreaming of one. Time is encapsulated by the inevitable return of September, whether your year actually works like that or not. It’s September and then it’s Christmas and the New Year and oh man your birthday, where did the time go?

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Life is a game of averages. Your life trajectory isn’t based on that one awesome trip, presentation, or friend you made, but how you lived your life after. That is, life is all about the ordinary. That one awesome day of weather that coincided with your trip? Awesome, but it’s how you spend your rainy foggy days that really counts. It’s a drag, we don’t pretend it isn’t, but suddenly we cherish those sunny days instead of expecting them to just be there.

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Clothing Optional Beach

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Yesterday I went to a clothing optional beach on whim to kill time. I didn’t bring a change of clothes, so I was somewhat forced to go topless, or walk around with no bra while wearing a tight shirt. Strangely enough it was far more uncomfortable to not wear a bra than be half naked.

I’ve been dipping in lakes once a week for the last month, and just because I couldn’t get away didn’t mean I lost my love of the water.

The experience was sadly creepy, but the water was amazing. It was not cold at all, and the tide was low. Salt-I had forgotten the water had salt. The last time I had been here I had been an innocent 18 year old and my friend had said brazenly, “I’d totally go topless” while putting seaweed ‘spa’ wraps on my feet. But the views of naked people and roving eyes drove us out. To think fear had kept me out of this place for two years. It is totally not worth staying away from a place of beauty for fear of a reaction that isn’t warranted.

Motivation

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Here’s what they never talk about when you live your dream: It’s hard. Even when you know it’s the only thing you would be happy doing it’s still impossible at times. It isn’t the easiest thing to do, not even when you have the passion for it. Knowing your end goal and knowing what direction to take to get there are two different things.

Signing up is hard but it won’t be the only hard part. It won’t even be the work that’s the hardest part. The hardest part is deciding the steps you will take to ensure success; the parameters of emotion that are permitted to still constitute enjoyment; the pace at which your passion should grow; constantly gauging direction and redirection. Reaching your goal is a finesse of map work and the hardest part isn’t moving forward, it’s deciding where those footsteps should go. Even when there is a goal in mind there isn’t always a clear trail or any indication of its suitability. It’s like walking through a foggy forecast and you’d like some sunshine, but you have no idea if you will achieve that by walking through the forest, walking long enough the fog blows off, or if it’ll be foggy for the rest of eternity and you are severely lost.

This applies to everything. I’m talking about academics, but it applies to any goal or relationship. In a way throwing your all into it will ensure you get something out of it and find out the true north of your passions, but just finding your passion isn’t enough. Just developing it will not ensure the path to your dream will become clearer. Living your dream is the hardest thing to do, so if you want to accomplish something great in life, treat yourself and do that thing.

I can’t say anything about it. My biggest dreams include helping and listening to others. Snowboarding is just a small dream-or is it? There are lots of things you could do out there. The first thing though is to chase any dream . Prove to yourself anything short of changing the world isn’t in your DNA.

Peekity-Peek into a Snow Journal

I found this document titled “Season 2014/2015” in my cloud drive. I tried to write everything down while I remembered. I remembered back in 2013/2014 when I could literally remember every day I spent on the mountain great detail, because my memory was so good from being so relaxed. I think I lost all of it; how can you be happy for something you’ve forgotten? Anyhow, I didn’t edit and it’s not very informative but it’s fun. Journalling is fun. Everything I don’t journal gets lost and that’s not fun.

(Aka things I heard and thoughts I had while having my mind cracked open by nature and people)

Season 2014/2015

Day 1

Nov 23, 2014

The innocence of the first day.

I’ve got powder on my mind too.

Day

Bussing.

Everything is just different when you don’t have that bundle of cash waiting for you when you get back.

Downloading on Lions.

“Wow, it must really suck up there for people to be coming back down already.”

Day

Everyday I feel a build up of excitement, and everyday it deflates without peaking when the forecast refuses to comply. It’s frustrating.

Day

Backcountry snow

After this, you can’t go back.

Day

He sounds like an introverted person going on and on only because he has to talk. We spend 20 minutes by the window talking only I forgot what about, only that I was smuggling bits of cookie from my pocket to my taste buds.

Day

No sandwiches.

It’s my birthday. Treat myself. I pick up the yogurt and granola bar.

“Haha, it is too much to pay,” he says. “I give you a discount.” 40%.

“Thanks,” I say to him. “It’s my birthday.”

Alex drives me up and I think he’s beautiful.

Dammit. I’m having such a great time but I’m lonely. I go home and cry.

The paradox is that these stirring images were once the stimulus for me to seek adventure in the mountains, but never once did I ever enjoy the beauty of these things in real life. Case in point, I watched as snow fall onto my co hiker’s sharp blue jacketed jack and was reminded of a beautiful picture I loved, that I loved as an emblem of snowboarding. In fact, I could have taken a camera and snapped the shot and fairly replicated it. But did I feel the same way staring at my hiker’s back in the cold in real life as I did sitting at home imagining in the comfort of 20 degree weather? No.

I hated above everything the stupid snow, that froze my body while we stopped for a much needed lunch. I hated that I liked to snowboard. I felt depressed only 1/2 into the hike because I was so used to living lazily at home. At first, familiar songs ran through my head but as my energy lessened, I resorted to living in the moment, which was no fun because I had no motivation except to follow my co hiker so I wouldn’t get lost and die.

However, as much as the conditions were physically and mentally stressing, I have never really regretted a hike. Sure, I regretted that one time I spent a night in a hut with 2 un-funny male hikers and an eccentric family of 3, but only because I didn’t find anyone in that crowd I liked, which is rare.

I also enjoyed the stimuli of ever changing ground (patchwork of different sized roots and rocks strewn in interpretive patterns across the trail)

It doesn’t just teach you about one thing. It teaches you about everything.

friend

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(originally written five days prior)

View from her car.

Hello friend that I never see. I think you know how much I appreciate you. If you didn’t, it would be awkward to see you so sparingly. It was awkward when we saw each other all the time but the awkwardness was something I’d overlook in order to be with someone with which the world made sense. Sisters are awesome, but awesome friends trump having no sisters. Maybe because we both have brothers. Maybe it’s because we were both hesitant to be girly, despite coming from very different lives. I didn’t understand why you didn’t do whatever you want and think mainstream, having the life that you did; what did you understand about me that kept you with me? When I helped feed the homeless one time I equate that feeling with how I felt when I found you. Life gaining a new dimension as selflessness finally made sense when it became clear it was the ultimatum for happiness and fulfillment. When I’m around you I am euphoric because we are both selfless. If there’s anything I’ve ever learned from a person it’s this.

Bus vs Bike

I definitely had a distaste, if not phobia, of water, all my life. Thanks to hiking I’ve jumped into six lakes, six more than I ever had before, this summer, and I want nothing more than to swim in cold water. Of course, I can’t swim more than five minutes without getting tired, and coldness makes that even worse. I’m still afraid of being far from shore, and had only 1 or 2 experiences on a watercraft, but cold, refreshing, wild, playful water-I love it. I love the beauty of surrounding to cold water and the tactile pleasure of walking on sand, and even the feeling of drying off afterwards.

I just found out it takes less than an hour to bike to the local beach. The difference between transit and biking within a city can be minuscule; in some cases biking is even faster. This is changing my life. Biking to useful places isn’t an option in my small town because school, even just groceries, are two towns over and there are only two bike racks per bus, and busses only every half an hour. A city where biking around is a viable option is becoming more and more clear to me why it’s so popular. Biking is far more relaxing than bus riding. Assuming you don’t regularly exercise like me, biking gives an option to those who aren’t athletically inclined to find a way to introduce exercise into daily life.

After lazy around in the intense 30 degree celcius weather, feeling absolutely fatigued from a lack of exercise and abundance of heat all week, I had to jump on my bike and catch the breeze. Instantly I could think again. It was only when I got back home that I found out, out of curiosity, that within 50 min I could bike to the beach, and I had already gone 3/4 of the way on my bike ride. Just that 1/4 more and I would find relief far better than any popsicle or ice cream.

Environment shapes us and the more I get out the more I see how environments have shaped others. Many move to be closer with their desired environments. Others grow up in non urban paradise, and are happy to stay rooted. If there is an option to see another world without having to move from your own, seize it. The bike is opening up so many options for me, and I’m so excited. I’m limited by my current laziness but I won’t have to if I change my environment. The streets in my town are small and flat but just an hour away there are things that are infinitely more wild, daring, and most of all, powerful motivators to change.

If I even went once a week, I’d find a way to slowly nudge my life away from relying on daring adventures that are above my level, to daily joy knowing that escape and play are attainable and free. And I didn’t even have to catch a bus to get to it.

(Currently heavy with bus phobia after bussing almost daily for 2 yrs)

PS Biking with 26 inch wheels and an adequately sized frame is infinitely better than biking with 24 inch wheels and a too small frame.

Edit: I never did bike to the beach, but I biked a similar distance within the city…

Snippet: Treading Water

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I was on extended holiday, but the fact didn’t feel real. Just like the water-I was floating, pleasantly chilled, held by by the buoyancy of truth but treading water on hearsay. 

Treading water was fun and even easy in warm water, like being in a deep bath tub. With the blue sky painting the surface like light refracting off lapis lazuli and lapping all around me, I was content. The perfect landscape was reminiscent of a storybook, or a picture I had seen for an independent film once. The girl had also been swallowed by a lake but in much colder, nearly bruise-purple waters-although, surrounded by evocatively beautiful mountains, the beauty of it drew its watcher in. 

How many lazy days had I had that were like this? A lot, the echo of a voice in my head replied. So many days when the waters were invitingly warm, the sun tantalizingly like a spotlight. Hadn’t they whispered about me? Seize the day, the weather’s good, want to join? How often had they come back philosophizing the silkiness of wind, the grip of threads of currents? Yet the waters had seared my skin, the sun burned a black hole through my dreams. Not like they were now. Not like the eye of calm I felt now in the middle of the perfect storm.

As I began to sink, lazy from a lack of exercise, a single thought bubbled to the surface of the haze: If only I were less of a perfectionist, it would feel like a vacation everyday. Like an extended holiday. Just ask for an extended holiday and you’ll feel this way all the time.

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Sunlight through the trees

*Fiction

Actually I had a very peaceful day in the water with my family. It was a fantastic day surrounded by people I love. Out in the waters, it was calming to be unanchored to the land. But I was lazy, and I could only swim for five minutes before paddling, gasping, back to shore. Afterwards, I felt a renewed calm on land, with a certainty that everyday could be this relaxing.

Inspiration

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You were made to be embarrassed about the things you sucked at so you would be motivated to do better.

Every failure is a step closer to success. Stay still to avoid failure and you stagnate.

You will never be happy if your art stayed stagnate, so make yourself happy and just produce.

Every failure that made you cringe when you were younger is what you pull up to define who you are when you’re older.

Failures make you. But you can only fail if you try.

Visual proof of Anxiety

Old news, but I have bad anxiety, and it affects me quite deeply. But it isn’t me.

Here’s visual proof of my brain off and on anxiety:3

Without anxiety

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With anxiety

If you can’t tell, the second drawing is not much more than scribbles. I don’t have much depth perception. I don’t have good control over my hands. Granted, I drew the second in 1 hour and the first in 8 hours, but draw is what drawing without anxiety looks like in 2 hrs; I’ve only drawn a small more detailed portion rather than rushing to finish an entire piece. Two different people might as well have drawn these two drawings.

It’s even worse with writing; I lose sense of sentence structure and grammar and write as far from my conscious as I can get; ie, I write in colloquial language that has no art. I hold the choice to be with or without anxiety by being adequately prepared (sleep, food, company, habits) but living with anxiety for so long means thinking without anxiety is hard. It’s a choice but it often doesn’t feel that way. I’ve allowed myself to cope with inadequate mechanisms so long I consider them the obvious step. Another thing is that creating something is an escape mechanism itself, except it’s a positive one when disciplined. No. It’s expression in its freest form.

It’s surprising I finished a drawing in a day but I’ve got lots of things to run and hide from, such a potential failure in university. I’ve got 3 weeks left to finish outstanding work in 3 courses; an innumerable amount of books to read and essays to write; 21 days. Sounds impossible? No. Sounds hard? No way. I love English. I love the fine arts. It would be a privilege to immerse myself in it for 3 weeks straight and emerge transformed. I can do this. I will do this.