Ours is a world ripe with opportunity, one in which we have been blessed with the time and resources to pursue activities of leisure. I have spent a significant amount of time planning and accumulating a trove of memories that are anchored in recreational pursuits; time I mostly cherish, time like it or not I can never get back, because time is never in my corner. It races forward, thoughtlessly giving away it’s infinite increments, while I am left to selfishly consider how best to squander my finite tokens. We’re the singular results of our choices, moving from consequence to consequence with such persuasive and pervasive insistence as to appear pre-determined. Actionable or not, the appearance of choice haunts our rationale like a plague, at every turn a cross roads, at every stop a trailhead, skeins of choices beget skeins of choices towards a knotted and unpredictable future.
This idea of near infinite possibility is cause for a large degree of anxiety, anxiety that has been supercharged with our newly granted access to the real-time experiences of others. No longer is our inability to act or access assuaged by a belief that a friend’s report of a recent legendary trip is sure to have been more than slightly embellished, or that the ossified legends of adventure have most certainly been polished and edited to the point of such enviable fantasy’s that a mere weekender could never hope to repeat.
This buffer of time where fiction fills the gaps between sent and receipt has been erased, and the world as we know it is has become one where the experience of others is an incessant jab, irritating our psyche with the attention we give it, and in some cases the attention it deserves. Moment after moment we are inundated with the ongoing adventures of friends, associates, and throngs of the unacquainted like and unlike minded who, apparently with out rest or worry, spend their time gallivanting around the globe on a endless spree of fabulous experience. Even while on my own heart stopping experiences, I might take notice of another event, something happening that I could have been apart of, something special enough to make me consider the motivations that led to my current situation.
Doubt happened earlier this summer as I was traveling the west coast with Yonder Journal in pursuit of Western Recreation. Our goal was to capture all forms of western recreation as a type of cultural study / pop-anthropological investigation. It was a curiously voyeuristic week of adventure and proxy adventure, copping infinite vistas and nature’s best looks, while simultaneously recording the wistful joy that this beauty evokes in our human response. This type of research / journey triggers a variety pack of my favorite neurons, and given the chance I would nearly always be happy to tag along in a venture of this type, jotting notes and dictating memos, with the express idea to publish and the vague idea to relate.
Time, though, waits for no man, and while I was out on the road, a group of my top bicycle buds spent a weekend exploring the remarkable trails around Mt. Saint Helens. It only takes one look through the photos to see that this was a memorable weekend of riding and even while I was traveling through the Eastern Sierra, Yosemite, and Lake Tahoe, part of me felt remorse that I wasn’t there, that I couldn’t have my cake and eat it too. They got into typical Eddy Merkin antics, beers, grass, slingshots, fires, burnt hot dogs, swimming holes, jokes, jokes, jokes, and jokes. Your typical, “what does adulthood mean anyhow,” abandon that has become the current normative cultural dictate since the skewering of the nuclear family began in earnest with the boomers.
We live with the legal leverage and financial underwriting of the nascent middle age, our time finite, our youth waning, and we see absolutely no advantage to growing up, rather, we take our knocks as they come, and pursue selfish and self-satisfying experiences as much as possible before taking our final eternal dirt nap. So I was envious of their trip while having a beautifully memorable experience of my own, and I am okay with this envy, because this entails the idea that whatever I am missing is, in my estimation, worthwhile enough to care about, to be envious of, and that in a time where non-stop 24 hours news attacks your senses with disheartening information from every and all imaginable angles, it is necessary to acknowledge that the world is still full of so many actionable and enviable adventures.