Thursday, December 26, 2013

Optimistic tundra

I wouldn't trade these frosty winter morning views
for all the palm trees in Hawaii.

A frostbitten year in review


I’ve made my home in the woods. When I came back almost two years ago I did not plan to stay long. This place was a sanctuary, a haven, familiar and safe, but I did not plan to stay. I came here to rest, think, and regroup. Returning from the cities, my eyes were reopened to the majesty of the wild. I spent almost all of my time outdoors and I loved every second of it.

Back then I was searching, clawing, hungry. I was redefining my life. All I felt were growing pains and heart aches. I didn’t know where I was headed, all I had in front of me was the present - the current of life in motion - and that’s exactly what I needed.

I learned how to be in the present without my past defining everything and without the future overwhelming me. I wrote to you about it often, and that helped put things into perspective.

With that perspective came a chance to begin to see things clearly, as if for the first time. Like a clear winter day, when the frost crusts over everything and the sun comes out, the whole world shimmers in the daylight. It’s blinding, when the sun hits the snow covered world - it’s as blinding as the truth, and it gives fuel to optimism.

To remain resolute in optimism I think we have to be ok with constantly reassessing our goals. That is, not exactly redefining them but checking in from time to time to be sure that what we’re aiming for is still close to our own truths - what we really believe. I think a good way to do this is setting aside some time to review the progress of our lives at the end of the year.

As a new year looms large, now is a perfect time to review our lives in 2013. We’ve toiled and troubled for 12 months and now we see how far we’ve come since last January. Hopefully, what you see makes you happy, in fact I’m willing to bet it does.

I’m willing to bet that if you take a look back over the whole year, generally, you’ll be happy with your life. See a good portion of us have this tendency to lean towards things that make us happy. We’re attracted to laughter, to smiles, to situations in which we can succeed. It’s human nature to seek these outcomes. The trick is knowing how to follow your own drumbeat while you march with others.

The one benefit of living in Minnesota for me was that state’s investment in information and intellectual sectors of commerce. The Twin Cities attract people from across the U.S. in the advertising and marketing industries. There is also a thriving music scene and a growing art and design faction over there. Our own Badger State, on the other hand, is more invested in industry and biotechnology. Well, that and heated politics.

What I’m saying is there is less demand for the things I am good at here in Wisconsin, but I am so infatuated with blue collar work and living close to the outdoors that I’d be foolish to sell out. Looking back on my 2013, I’ve had to continue to fight and claw for things that would be easier obtained across the river or in a more populated area, but those things and those achievements would mean much less to me if I had to surrender my lifestyle for them.

No, instead I will swear to live a life I choose. My parents fought too hard to provide me the opportunity of a good life. I will not simply squander that opportunity on the promises of greener grass. I’ve been over that fence once before, but now I'm back, heels dug into this frostbitten tundra, and here I intend to stay. Once you’ve found something worth fighting for it’s easy to be an optimist.

See you out there,
A woodsman in training.


No comments:

Post a Comment