I have been working through some self-examination these last few seasons, in part, because no one else will self-examine me. Working to find a balance I once could rely on, I sense that my gains far exceed my losses. But to keep the meter pegged to the desirable side of the ledger, more work is needed. The purging continued this past week with decisions made to shelve some extra weight that has become a burden to carry around. Parts of me have been divided, sliced up, wrapped, and served back to in portions that no longer work. The menu is changing.
It’s a theme that I recognize from so much time pondering. In the years leading up to entering my seventh decade it was clear to me that I let my guard down. I allowed myself to become more than I want to be. Well, to be exact, more than I’d like to be. As is the case with those who tiptoe around a web-centric life, access into mine by others came at a price. Often I was happy to pay it. Sometimes I’d skip out and leave the bill on the table. I let too many people into what was once a very closed, very private place. At any time I could have unplugged. The present seems like a good place to start.
I spend a lot of time dwelling on the interrelationship between my trade, the craft of bicycle making, and the many who play a part in both. The connections seem to grow at a rate for which the benefits exist less and less. At least it seems that way on balance. After a decade online, the repetition has gotten, er – repetitive. The discussions, the threads, the signal-to-noise, the expositions, the hierarchies, – all of it has become rote. I am all for giving, for giving back, and for sharing the load. But I need to rearrange it so that it’s all on my terms. That’s the goal.
So, some of the places I’ve gone, some of the roles I have played – whether by accident, by default, or even by self-appointment – some of these will be relegated to the things I once did while I was fifty-something column. I’ll continue in some of the familiar haunts and detach from others. It’s a good time to let go.
One of the more ever-present conditions in my adult life centers around campus life. I left The Peddie School in 1971 but all of the years since have felt like one long matriculation situation. The last decade especially. That interrelationship that formed between my trade and the craft, and also many of the players, is one big and wide conversation in which I have played several parts. Looking back, it reminds me of a class, or a term, or an academic year that goes on and on, yet never reaches June when all involved can be released – at least for a while.
Going forward, I’ll spend more of my time on entities that are close to me, and less – maybe none, on those that have been going in circles. The ones that include intimacy, face time, and riding will get my nod. Those having artificial lighting, elevators, and endless bills of lading will be relegated. I have more energy and enthusiasm for my profession than I’ve had in a long while. I’ll continue to share that energy, just differently. School is out for me.