Pre-Trip Post: Wedgemount Lake Revisited

That’s crazy. It’s been 10 days since I’ve posted (and that last post was so half hearted.) I’m a journal writer and everyday that I don’t write/think about writing a journal is a day I’m not plugging into my emotions and going to sleep knowing I understand something a little better.

Still, it’s been busy, so even if I did process everything, it’d take a long while to slowly digest everything. My life has been really sedentary, and also predictable. There hasn’t been any adrenaline rush chases, no hikes with interesting strangers, no escapes by myself into the woods. These formed a big part of my spiritual life, so what of being deprived of these things? For one, I supposed it still possible to pursue this lifestyle, since I’ve alternated between staying home and completing work and staying home and staring tiredly and blankly into a computer; for another, it’s really hard to be calm after a great day meeting new people and settling down sometimes. Or maybe not. Anyways the fact still stands that for the 1.5 months since school started, my life has been predictably sedentary with the same people and not at all like my life before, where I chased the unpredicted.

Why have I been doing that? Well, I’ve been trying to be more successful at school. News flash: It’s not really working. I’ve crapped up some marks, royally. I’ve only gotten one good mark (Damn.) So what have I been doing with the 100’s of hours that I’ve been at home, when I’m not at school or in transit and without a job? Well, I’ve been trying to calm down with some success. In the process, I’ve inadvertently not reflected much, or felt flat most of the time that I did. I felt excited for maybe so few times that I can count it on one hand. Anyways: what did work: just slogging through work, contentedly. Keeping up the morale and just doing it. What hasn’t worked: caffeine. Lack of sleep. Trying to work through my emotions at 1 am instead of 8pm. Am I still the same person? At the end of the day, that’s the question that resonates within me and scares me the most. I don’t want to be some highly efficient but unfeeling machine that has emotions but not spontaneous and volatile ones. I am spontaneous and volatile and in repressing them, I’m making them even more volatile to self express as they please.

Anyways. I thought I had my eggs in one basket at the beginning of the term. It’s now halfway through; the real tests are about to come. I’ve not read most of my course readings; I will be tested on these in a few days and I only have 2 of those days to study. Wish me luck. If I’ve made it, I can do it. But tomorrow: Wedgemount Lake. At Rock Party I scarily lost all motivation to move and didn’t rock climb. My limbs were limp and heavy simultaneously; the lack of spontaneity and deadness of reaction (I tried so hard to be more “stable”) put me in death lock. So here I am; regaining that spontaneous fervour that I hate for ruining my plans but apparently can’t live without. I am more stable when I’m unstable. Now let’s see how I attack next week, which will be the crucial defining week of my life: Literally everything about this year rests on my performance next week.

Oh, perhaps I should actually mention Wedgemount: the third backpacking trip I went on last year that I survived due to pure adrenaline. The hike up was hard, I recall, but not bad because I had done the grouse grind that week (whereas the only exertion I did this week was run 30 seconds to catch the bus). But the scramble up Mt Cook? That was brutal. I lost all motivation like I did on that rock I was climbing and I felt depressed beyond belief. Now how can one destroy that feeling? Maybe you can’t. Maybe the only thing you can do is make enough meaning in your life to embrace every single challenge and fear. But here’s my time to try it again and see if I got any braver. Maybe next spring I’ll go climbing again (right now I’m too afraid of being depressed like I did climbing Rock Party) and it won’t be depressingly hard, either.

And there was a bite in the air a few days ago. I remember last year when I wrote a post; I skipped class to go to grouse. I wouldn’t do that now. Why? Not because I don’t value the chill in the air, but because that part of my spontaneity was destructive or disruptive. I didn’t do well at all last term, and moreover I always spent that time by myself. It was like I was running away and I did feel guilty afterwards. Eventually. It was awesome and cool and lovely to be able to run away from adult responsibilities but everything has a time and place. The more I ran away (even if I enjoyed myself) the less I would be suitable to hold down a job and not resent the work day, etc. In fact, I actually did learn that through my unpaid internship. As crappy as being unpaid is, I owe everything to it: it helped me sit down and be calm and be normal. Being a functioning person is essential to using those academic skills you learned in class and the only way forward to future days where you can just take the day off work and enjoy it when the weather has something to offer.

I’m happy to be twenty one. I’m happy I haven’t screwed everything up yet and am still here to fix what I did.

PS It’ll be cold up there. In writing this pre trip I noticed that I feared a lot less about food or gear and thought more about the experience. I do worry about gear but by context I know the trips that I do are so low-level hardcore that I didn’t worry about my abilities. With a calm head on your shoulders and the essentials, you’re bound to be okay on such a short trip. It’s like a walk in the park, just longer and harder.


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