Not Feeling Like It

I don’t always feel like it, going out, running, riding, exploring. Sure, most of the time I’m super-motivated. A large part of my work is being in the woods, and the woods are magical, but inertia is still a powerful force, and the couch is comfortable, and outside is hot/cold/not here/too tired/too buggy/too far. I’m grateful I get to do what I do.

But.

I have to go out to get better. That’s the essence of it. Calmer. More content. Fitter. More resilient. More connected. More engaged with my curiosity. More informed about the world around me. Freer in my thinking. Clearer, too. Better in tune with my wife and kids and friends through shared experiences in a context far bigger than our home and its overcultivated patterns of behavior. To find a better mood than the one I woke up in.

Just better.

Isn’t this what adulthood is, a search for meaning and improvement, so that, at the end, you can feel you lived well, that you didn’t waste your time? I think everything up to that point, where eventually you see that you have to make something of your life, is childhood.

Sometimes I’m running or riding, and I can just about feel the layers of stupidity sloughing away. All that work reduces me to something more human and less burdened by the internet and TV’s suggestions that I should be something I’m not.

I took my kid to the woods this morning, the young one. He is difficult, oppositional, stubborn, but also quiet and secretive. Hard to parent.

The woods open him up. Not at first. No. But if I’m quiet he comes out of his shell. If I resist the urge to lecture. If I speak only about myself and my own experiences instead of telling him how he should see things. If I ask open-ended questions and don’t judge the answers. Outside, he does well.

In the woods, my wife and I talk. The constraints of family and home disappear. There’s both less and more input, in the right way.

As an introvert, there are few better places to escape the pressure of interacting with people. Even when I was a kid the power of places that were more or less abandoned by the rest of the humans was intuitively appealing.

So some days I don’t feel like it, but I try to keep the faith that out is always better than in, that I’ll be glad I went, and I’ll be a better person on the other side. This faith might be the root of my Brand New Religion.

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