Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Early Seeds of a Midlife Crisis

If you read anything in the Post last week about a dead cyclist's insect-covered corpse found in the bushes along the W&OD trail -- that cyclist was not me. I cycled roughly 30 miles to work, worked a full day and rode right home again with no lapses in consciousness at all. I feel as though I won something, but nobody has offered me a medal yet.

I must have been completely insufferable at work. It was all I could do not to announce to everyone "I rode 30 miles to work today" in a mass inter-office email. It's a good thing nobody gave a presentation about blogging and then said
"Jeff, what do you think,"
because I definitely would have said
"I don't know about all that, but I rode 30 miles to work today."

I go in phases of trying to take off the peanut butter wetsuit, keep dipping my feet into the pool and jumping back out again. It'll be all weights and stationary stuff at the gym, feeling healthy but also like I live on a space station, and then I'll just slack completely. But man, something about fresh air and feeling yourself move through thick ropes of humid DC air and the odd exhalation fresh from a grive of trees, seeing running water, deer and beavers in the trail -- beats the dog-shit out of being a round a lot of uptight DC people thudding away on the treadmill, sweating, grimacing and never ever talking.

This is just my new little fetish, a fixation to drive myself with for a while. I know myself too well, and I get bored or tired or something before fully diving deep into too much. 'Shove me into the shallow water before I get too deep," said Eydie Brickell. She and her Bohemians may have dropped right off the pop map, but that lyric stuck with me, man.

All I know is that I'm not happy unless I'm doing something kind of nuts. And right now, cycling is a healthy antidot to whacking huge amounts of time spent behind a glowing screen pushing pixels. Since turning thirty I'm gripped with this new zest for life. I'm a hybrid engine powered by passion and terror -- passion for whatever thrills me now, and the very real fear that I'll stop feeling passion. I'm scared of being completely happy, scared of having my needs met in a way that's close enough but not quite really actually what I wanted. So many people, they settle down, roll over, give up the fight for what they believe in or just the fight against being boring and give in to whatever's closest.

Unfortunately, a lot of those people are happy. The happiest people make do with what they have rather than go out and grab all that they want. Me, I'm just doing something just beyond my limits at the moment, and for the meantime, it's making me happy.


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