Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dragonslayers Anonymous

I’m guilty of writing more when things are bad than when things are good.  I’ve been horrible at this in my private journal and almost as bad with blogs and other social media.  And aren’t blogs dead, anyway?
Things are good.  It feels like a switch has been flipped in my brain.  Maybe a circuit breaker had been tripped and I finally found the right switch.  I honestly don’t know.  I can point to a few contributing factors. 
It’s summer.  The days are longer and I’m getting out in the sun more.  Ah, good ol’ serotonin! 
Also…acupuncture.  Yeah, I’m new to it, but Mandy went to a few sessions when we lived in Colorado and loved it.  So we’ve been going to community acupuncture at Slade the past two weeks and are signed up tonight as well.  I went hoping for help with my back and have seen pretty much an improvement in every other aspect of my life except in my chronic back tension.  I’m not complaining.  I don’t know if there is a direct correlation between my improved mood and the acupuncture, but I’m not going to dismiss it.  The timing is right.  And so much of my other chronic pain and discomfort is now gone or diminished.  I have felt great for two weeks.  I have energy.  I feel like I might be able to go back to being the old Chainring that felt indomitable. 
If you’re a long time reader to the blog you know I suffer from debilitating loss of confidence.  While I should be on top of the world most days I don’t typically see myself as being very capable and important in the whole scheme of things.  I feel less than adequate as a functioning member of society.    Well, lately I’ve had a boost in that arena.  I have my suspicions on what led to that, but that’s my little secret.
However, in conjunction with the confidence spike a few things have been coming together that I have been working on for a long time.  We’re finally wrapping up a comprehensive plan for Clay City and it’s been a good effort and a good result.  The boat access at the city park is almost finished and people are using the river like crazy.  All of my longsuffering efforts there have been paying off.  The Bald Rock trails are progressing.  The CR-RRG Mountain Bike Alliance is working.  While work on the race has lulled, Mandy and I are still moving with it and I’m excited.  And at work we’re working on developing a training program which could be beneficial to the region.  I find myself excited about that because it feels like that was the work I hoped I’d be doing when I romanticized being a planner over a decade ago. 
Another mystery is that I suddenly find myself in a constant state of contentment.  Well, as content as I can be.  I’ll never be content.  It’s not in my nature.  Maybe…maybe, I’m satisfied with the direction my life has taken.  Sorry folks, that’s as good as it gets.  Life is a journey not a destination.  If you become too content you get complacent and complacency isn't living.
The contrast to contentment has been the feeling of teetering on the edge of depression—or from depression into despair—for ever so long.  For months now even on good days I lived with a shadow just over my shoulder.  I could feel the weight and mass of it waiting to settle on me.  And sometimes it’s cold, dark hand let its presence be felt for days.  I do dread the return of the shadow, but for whatever reason I don’t feel it close to me now.  I doubt it’s gone for good, but I’m going to dance like there’s no tomorrow until I hear otherwise.
So yeah, things are good.  Great?  Maybe at times.  And maybe I’m moving deeper into great territory. 
Mandy and I watched Captain Fantastic last night.  What an amazing movie!  You can easily be tempted to romanticize the lifestyle the family lives, and maybe even fantasize about going completely off grid and raising little Lords of the Flies.  But my takeaway was the movie as a great table around which to sit and discuss as a society what are reasonable expectations and when should we impose our own values on others and dictate their responsibilities.
That is the struggle I’ve had all my adult life.  It’s been an internal and external struggle.  I remember arguing with my parents about various things related to adult responsibilities and expectations.  I told someone once I wanted a cabin in the middle of nowhere without a phone.  They said: “You can’t live without a phone!” I asked what people did before the phone was invented.  I remember my dad imploring me to get life insurance and save money for retirement and wondering out loud what people did before such institutions came into being.  I have those things now, and I feel lost without my smarty smart phone, but I know I could walk away from it all and have a great life.
I also know that my life could have taken a very different path had I found my confidence earlier.  And while I say I’ve maybe found my confidence, the excavation of it is going to take some time.  But when I get it out of the ground where it’s been entombed these past few decades…watch out!  It’ll be a dragon coming out of sleep and aching to spread its wings.  We might all be burned up in its fury.
You realize these schemes I toss around are like balls to be juggled and dropped.  I feel in my bones there are bigger and better things that I am suited to tackle in the world.  Until now I haven’t felt the spiritual and emotional mass behind me to charge forward and take them on.  And maybe I’m not there just yet.  I need to keep digging around the edges and trying to free it from the bedrock of my psyche.

And now, to completely flip the dragon analogy...

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