Friday, November 14, 2008

No blimps or tires here

Forgive me while I wax nostalgic for a spell.

The preceding (give or take) 365 days, it turns out, have collaborated to form the best year of my life. Let’s get something straight right out of the blocks, though. This is not about race results, although it's got a bit to do with triathlon. It happens that those 365 days have been book ended by two fantastic races, but those days are just two of 365.

Why all the commotion? It’s simply a realization that my life has taken turns for the better in the last year and inevitable ruminations about what’s next. What was special about the year? I don’t want this to be any sort of highlight reel. It should suffice to say that the places I’ve explored and people I’ve met are enough to provide a lifetime of memories. Living in New Zealand? Um, yes.

Beyond that, forgoing the status quo of the standard career path model, leaving familiar surroundings, and pursuing some other goals did a lot to set up the state of mind that has made it a good year. There’s no doubt that the triathlon-related shenanigans I’ve gotten up to have made for lots of goodness, both through races and training and whatnot. And Ethel is certainly a huge contributor to this best year, despite all the trouble that comes along with the Irish. :)

Where it gets interesting is when money gets factored into all of this. This year has represented by far my lowest income since I entered the workforce. I do truly enjoy engineering as it keeps the mind ticking over, but engineering work usually involves being at work 8+ hours a day for 5 days a week, and it’s become abundantly clear that such a lifestyle isn’t that desirable to me. Not so much the work, but the associated American model of 2 Glorious Weeks of Vacation, which contributes to the old trap of having the money, but no time to spend it. Money can’t buy happiness, but I never knew that they were inversely proportional.

So where do we go from here? One thing I’m sure about is that I shouldn’t accept that I just had the best year of my life and that I won’t ever top it. Another thing I’m sure about is that I need to refill the ol’ bank account, because the current way of doing things isn’t really working. I’m fantastically happy but in an unsustainable mode of operation.

I’m also fully aware that there’s more to life than triathlon. It’s contributed greatly to this amazing year, but I’ve got a suspicion that largely committing my time and energy to other pursuits would have resulted in a similarly splendid year. I’ve got lots of other goals in my life. Also, after 3 ironmans in 365 days, I feel like I’m at the pinnacle of health, although a touch worn out. I’ll admit to being a bit incredulous at considering easing back on aspects of my life that have been so positive, and also to being a tiny bit scared that this last year won’t ever be topped.

This is an appropriate time to mention my unconditional admiration for those who compete in time-intensive sports while successfully balancing careers, family, relationships, and friends. I always told myself that if I were going to train for an ironman, it would have to be on my terms. I’ve been lucky enough to be in that situation, but other aspects of my life have suffered as a result. Hell, I’m broke and I haven’t been on a snowboard in nearly two years! So, to those out there who succeed in this sport while keeping everything else together: I tip my hat to you.

So, once more, where do we go from here? I don’t quite know. More goodyears would be a start.

Past Detritus