Thursday, July 16, 2015

Returning, Choices, Culture from Scratch

Two years ago I felt the planets in the cosmic watch of my life shift. Myriad tiny decisions and postures of day to day had nudged them to a brink. I could feel them surpass the edge, nod toward distant gravity--fling--hopefully to find a new stable orbit.

I trusted the change. Growing up in a military family, moving every few years, taught me that change is good. Sometimes it's challenging and scary, but it's real, and real experiences provide truth. It's also usually fun, at least in retrospect.

However, with the current change, the mountains that were my crystalline focus for the last 7 years blinked from view.

I sat shirtless under the sun in the front yard of our new house sipping whiskey and picking weeds. "Who is this eccentric new home owner?" I imagined the neighbors saying.

I nursed a sour dough culture, and baked beautiful naturally leavened breads, caught in a Chad Robertson, hipster nesting fervor.

I ran the trails near my house for hours, meditating to my heart rate in a steady zone 2.

Now my son Finn is here, 1 year old, and the change has delivered according to its reputation. Fatherhood has been challenging, scary, and fun. Inklings of truth are beginning to offer themselves.

Work, family, play, curiosity, spirit, fitness, friends, excellence, mountains, booze, food. These pursuits are neither casual or isolated. The way we combine and balance these ingredients creates the most powerful force in history: culture. When it's only you, the culture you radiate is less likely to be revealed by obvious subjects. Subjects exist in the form of your peers, but you are more likely to be oblivious, to get lost in the noise and think it's just you so it doesn't matter. Then you have a kid, and it's clear that the culture you produce has an immediate, direct effect. It is your child's entire world, it is the sea your spouse navigates at all times,
it is a beacon in the fog for everyone else.

Somewhere in the soup of new pressures to take charge, the mountains returned to view. How can I offer them to my children if I let them slip away? Alex and I planned a trip to the Incredible Hulk in the High Sierras for the end of June 2015, a month before my second child is due.

Anderson's training manual as my bible, I dropped 1 lb a week for 20 weeks. I meditated. I hangboarded at 5am every third day, and traversed the gym in place of lunch.

I felt fitter, sharper, and more excited for life than ever. I was back.