Our society has a fascination with professional athletes. In maybe a more altruistic view, maybe a little bit of an unhealthy appreciation. There is something amazing about someone with true mastery of their craft, a person who has abilities beyond most and skills tuned beyond comprehension. These people have worked hard to arrive where they are, no doubt. But imagine the cruise control attained when one is paid solely to be a professional athlete. It is a highly regarded lifestyle, one that most people dream about, but may not have the potential to develop.
For the 99% of outdoor adventurers who receive absolutely nothing for their pursuits other than pure joy and a sunburn, finding time to not only hunt down goals but train for them can be a feat on its own. Call them your average Joes (or Janes), but it is these ordinary crushers who are forced to balance every day life with passionate adventures. These people must strike a balance between making a living and making a life, with a paying job and account draining passions. And yet, they are so much more inspiring from the peer perspective. It is amazing to see a father of two still slashing pow with the young guns, or a mom lapping 5.12 in the climbing gym while her newborn naps safely a few yards away. But these candid crushers have to choose this path, they seek it out from the very core of their bones.
Motivation is the name of the game for these multitaskers of life. You simply cannot be lazy and still be a student, employee, (good) boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband and still excel at what you love to do. Making it all happen involves a lot of early mornings, long drives, and hard choices in order to do what you really love. The excuses can far outnumber the reasons sometimes for getting up early or working late, but in the end, this is the only life we have been given. Some may mistakenly pen this attitude as a form of FOMO (fear of missing out), yet fear is the polar opposite from the driving force. Desire would be a better description, a yearning to live and feel alive, to adventure and endure. To many, riding singletrack or skinning in the alpine is what makes life feel vibrant, it is what makes them shine afterwards.
However, it is this balance between the skintrack and the paycheck, the bivy ledge and date night, that becomes the most strikingly difficult to procure. A simple way to find the best mix is to write down what may be the most important ways to spend your time, then put it aside. Two weeks later, compare what you feel is important to you versus what you actually do with your time. Many people are surprised to find that they spend little time on what they love to do, filling in the gaps with invites to events they could care less about, activities that aren’t quite as fulfilling, with people that don’t exactly mean the most to them. The “why” to all of this is very personalized, but the results are very common nonetheless. So try to focus on what makes you happy; a sunset hike with your loved one, an early morning hangboard session, a lunchtime trailride with a coworker. Squeeze in the passion, so there is less room left for the bullshit.
To the people that love to say, “Busy,” when you ask how they’ve been…are you really? Are you really as busy as a mom with a job, 2 kids and a mountain bike. Are you really as busy as a student with a part time job, an amazing girlfriend and a lust for alpine skintracks. Or are you just filling the gaps in your life with busywork and bullshit so your dreams can always be just that, dreams. Make time for yourself, for your loved ones , for what you love. And ask yourself, who is your real hero, Tom Brady, or the guy who digs at your local trails, frames your friend’s new house, is raising two kids and still crushes your local crag. We hope you find time to appreciate the latter.