Happiness, what does that mean to you? What makes you happy? How long does happiness last for you when you reach a mark in your life that you previously set as a "this will make me happy" point? Is there anything that will ever make you feel permanently content? For the vast majority of people, the answer to that last one is no.
The way most of us are trained to think and act is to feel like we always have some goal that is not yet fulfilled and we need to be pursuing it. To improve our social rank is the all important underlying reality of life. Or so we have been taught.
For a very large percentage of my life, my existence revolved around performing as a champion on a road bicycle. Every fiber of my being existed to find new ways to improve and dominate on a grander scale. From the ages of 15 to 30, all I thought about was getting better on a bike. Results I did attain. Results that I dreamed of as a 15 year old, no, but real results did come of it all. Around the time I turned 28, I was piecing together the fact that my performance had more or less stagnated for the last four years compared to the percentage gains I needed to attain goals that I really wanted. Sure, we had amassed a very impressive amateur team that was putting out some relatively impressive amateur results. I had my eye on more though. I tried everything under the sun to eek out even small fractions of a percentage of improvements. I read endlessly about scientific ways to improve in every way possible, be it my physical capacity, to reducing resistance on the bike, to improving tactics. What I was beginning to realize was that I had exhausted all of my resources and my motivation to train at maximum effort load had been at full throttle for many years. I had already tried every method available to see what might result in improvements. I was at my own personal pinnacle. It felt good, too! But I wanted more as most people eventually do and realized that there was no more that could be done to gain the percentage gains I required. It felt strange to know, without any doubt, that I had reached the razor edge of my own capacity sans hitting the lotto to purchase a few methods that were outside of my financial capacity (daily massage, et cetera) or taking performance enhancing drugs.
Having reached the only pinnacle I had ever really cared about, I felt lost as to what to pursue to derive my core happiness from. Who was I if not a champion road cyclist? One thing I knew was that the pursuit of being rich was not on my radar. People often times become filthy creatures when their main pursuit in life is social rank. I found, and still find, happiness in sharing experiences in adventure. When the sights and sounds of people bustling around in pursuit of social rank are all gone, that is where I find my happiness. When experiencing natures beauty trumps our desire to be king of the hill, that is when I am happiest. I don't need to be the best adventurer, I just want to get to the most unique and beautiful places that are also plenty far away from the masses. The more often I find myself in experiences like that, the greater happiness I feel in life. Honestly, I don't have the skill set to live in the wilderness and do derive some large degree of happiness from sharing these experiences with like minded people so I basically need to live in a populous enough place to find similarly minded people. Boise is fantastic for this goal! Surely there are other places to reach these ends as well, but I've yet to come by a place that has the vast diversity in exploration as the place I call home. Someday I may exhaust this areas exploration capacity and will desire to move on, but that time has yet to come. If any area were to call my name louder than Boise, it would surely be on or near the Colorado Plateau, which is mostly in Southern Utah. The land of sandstone is wondrous and holds limitless exploration. Quite literally, one could never explore all of that land in a lifetime.
As for my personal side outside of adventuring, well, that story could go on longer than I care to share. Most of us are complex beings or so I prefer to believe until I turn on mainstream radio or drive by the mall. I'd prefer to portray my own personality with an analogy to the description of one of my favored beers. "The Abyss: malt beverage brewed with black strap molasses, licorice, with cherry bark and vanilla added with 6% aged in oak bourbon barrels, 11% aged in oak barrels, and 11% aged in oak wine barrels. It's dark. It's deep. It's mysterious. This imperial stout has immeasurable depth inviting you to explore and discover it's rich, complex profile. The flavor of this special brew draws you in further and further with each sip. The Abyss beckons. Enjoy the journey."
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