There has been a question within my own life that has constantly badgered me. I have been aware of its presence, knowing that at some point I would need to finally face it, confront it, and subsequently answer it. I have asked this question of my writing, and of my riding, of my career (such as it is), and of my family life. There is almost nothing I have done in which I have not at times wondered:
What the hell am I doing?
There are days when that question is asked humorously, or within the context of an adventure or some physical endeavor. I have asked that question at start lines and during races and out in the lonely desert. I’ve wondered aloud at whether or not I’d ever ride a bike again. I’ve questioned my rational thought process on rims in Moab and in the forests of Colorado. But, essentially, that question has always been hyperbolic, not even meant to be answered. It became a coping mechanism to help me get through a difficult situation. Because ultimately the events of the day found a way of answering the question. That is, I found my way out of the wilderness and into the society of rational behavior – again and again.
But the question has plagued other aspects of my life recently. Or rather, it has been more prominent as of late. From professional choices and questions and options to simple rhetorical musings, I seem to be unable to find a satisfactory answer. And of course the question itself, at least, seems much less hyperbolic when it has to do with more pressing matters of life and money and jobs and those institutions that society has of necessity put so much importance in.
I’ve never been one attracted to the traditional work day. And frankly have always struggled to motivate myself through week after week after year after year of those traditional working hours. But of course, it makes sense as the most effective way to earn and produce. And still though, I look at things ideally, questioning the system.
And I wonder if my tendency to ride longer distances in uncelebrated, underground events is not a reflection of my innate rejection of doing things a certain way because that is how things have always been done? Perhaps. Except that this summer I am looking forward to riding more established, shorter, sanitized races. And so it might be that the above wonderment is off kilter. Or at least not entirely responsible for my love of solitude and free races.
But I take comfort knowing that more often than not I have found answers, however temporary, to this vexing question in riding my bike. I seem to be able to piece together the puzzle of life a little more precisely when I am pedaling circles with regularity. It seems to be the oil that moves the entire machine of whoever it is that I am. And am trying to be.
And so I will keep trying to answer the question. And I will continue to look for those answers within the singletrack of the Wasatch and the desert. In the rocks and the rivers. Peaks and valleys. And from someplace within me, I am confident that at some point I will know, just what exactly the hell I am doing.
Exit Question: What the hell are you doing?