Sunday, October 26, 2014

Life is like a box of chocolates...

... and sometimes you get one of those shitty maraschino cherries covered in waxy crap milk chocolate that you spit back out into your hand.

immediately after the crash

It's been 6 months now since I crashed my moto and incurred life-changing injuries. I'm getting back to a basic level of health, having healed enough that the effects of the injuries no longer keep me from doing anything I want to do. I am very grateful for that. A big part of this experience has been realizing how much we take for granted.

I gained about 20 lbs that I'm having trouble getting off me. Much of that is because even though my body is healed up and ready to get back into shape for all day rides (or hikes, or whatever), I don't really have the drive. Not sure where it went, but it's gone at least for the time being.

The seeds of discontent were sowed well before the moto crash. I've been feeling a disconnect from my old life since fall of 2013, after crashing out of the 24 Hours in the Sage. But the moto crash fallout put me into a place where everything was pretty much zeroed out. Total reset.

These days my free time is spent doing stuff that Vicki can do. On a bike, that's really no more than 2-2.5 hours at a 4-5 mph pace. She actually prefers that we go hiking rather than chasing me on a bike. She's quite an enigma: an 18-month-old herding dog who doesn't really like to run all that far. 

So, I should be doing the short rides and hikes that Vicki wants, then heading out on my own to get some extended time in the saddle. I did that yesterday, roughly 2 hours on foot with the dog then roughly 2 hours mountain biking by myself. But that's really not much compared to olden times. And often, after Vicki and I get home from our outings I just putter around and skip doing anything more myself.

My exercise and outdoors life has been rotated into a different direction. 

Huge long bike rides became basic to not only what I do, but who I am. So, if I don't do that any more, what is my life for? Am I supposed to spend a couple more decades wearing out bicycles? Or what?

Let me tell you, it would be a tremendous comfort to be back there happily wearing out bikes. Riding bikes far and long was a passion and a mission and a purpose. There was no question then about what I would do with an available Saturday.

I still love bikes, and bike people are still my tribe. I've had glimmers of the joy of singletrack I remember. Fear of crashing has kept me from really being in the flow, but I get more glimmers all the time. So far it hasn't translated into the old passion or drive though. 

In general life has been difficult in the six months since I got out of the hospital. During the summer months you'd think I would have been really bummed out because I was missing a rocky mountain summer. I was, but the fact that it was summer was kind of beside the point. My life was fucked up in a very basic sense. I was depressed. I was disoriented. It was all I could do just to bring some kind of energy to work.

One of the things that is true when your life is in shambles is that people don't want to hear you complain. And I get that, nobody likes a whiner. It isn't a lack of compassion, it's that people feel uncomfortable with the negativity. They don't like it that you are down and struggling, and when you show that you are something changes in their eyes. They steer the conversation toward optimism. And you really have no choice but to fake it. Put a smile on your face and talk about some good thing.

Which is fine. Living in the darkness sucks. Society should discourage us from being there. What's not fine is that there may not be anyone able or available to really feel it with you. It's isolating. And that makes all the rest of the shit that much shittier.

Thank goodness for dogs.

This post isn't meant to be a whine, more like an attempt to fart out a little more of the ugly to propel myself toward the light. But maybe it is a whine. Fuck it.

I'm doing better. This isn't my first rodeo, so I've learned a little about how to HTFU and get on with things. That's what I had to do near the end of summer. Just had to decide to put a different goddamn expression on my face every morning and will myself to have more energy. It more or less worked.

We are coming into the dark months now. I normally fall into at least a semi-funk when the days get short and the light gets thin and colorless. This year, well, I'm not happy about it, but from where I'm coming and how I'm living, seems like it could just turn out to be totally OK. Change of pace. Vicki prefers chilly weather, heat makes her wilt. We'll snowshoe, maybe XC ski some, maybe I'll get a fat bike.

Maybe out there in the cold I'll come up with some kind of plan for the rest of my life.

sunrise over my house
Recent sunrise over my house.

2 comments:

Michael Heitman said...

snow shoe/xcountry ski in the winter? Backpack in the spring-summer-fall? Dogs love both, and you'll still be in the wide outside. Consider it cross training to maintain your love of the outdoors, so you can bike when you feel like it, and biking won't be a chore. Variety is the spice of life? Mike

Tom Purvis said...

Hey Michael, thanks for the suggestions and encouragement. The appearance of this post is a little misleading. I was doing some blog house-cleaning (blousecleaning?) and saw a couple posts that I had never published or had un-published. I figured they should either be nuked or published, so the ones I thought were worth saving got published.

This one, Life is like a box of chocolates I wrote in fall of 2014, so about 14 months ago. I was in a pretty bad place in life, and was writing about it for catharsis.

Life is way better now. I'm finding things to love in all of our seasons, and my passion for riding is back. I think my outside adventure time is more multi-faceted than before the injury that year, with lots of hiking, snow-shoeing, etc. But biking has returned to give me a place of peace and a feeling of identity.

Thanks so much for reading and for your kind concern!