“Trust thyself, every heart vibrates to that iron string.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’ve always found it funny, the question people ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s as though we are each pre-programmed to fit into one, neatly compartmentalized role. Talk about a depressing thought. At one point in my life I wanted to be a dolphin trainer and a professional soccer player and one of the world’s most respected collectors of street signs. I’m none of those things now, but the notion that I needed to choose one, and only one, was the source of a lot of anxiety for me in second grade. How can we homosapiens – complex and curious by nature – be expected to “be” one thing? We each have a nature, of sorts, but it’s our ability to discover that inherent way of “being” that will lead us to the “doing” — and that’s where the fun really happens, the passion and purpose and adventure and the life we’re supposed to be living.
This is #MyNature.
If there has been one overarching theme that I’ve committed myself to, in terms of building a life that makes sense to me, I would say that I’ve resisted being put into one category, sport, career or passion. I love to climb – there are times when I spend long stretches at high-altitude, with high-energy friends and an obscene amount of Snickers bars. But there are times that I am driven by the massive chasm of social inequality that exists in our world today, and I find myself quiet, listening and learning in a small rural classroom in Haiti, trying to better understand how I can be a part of raising the level of education available those who also want a chance to live their greatest lives. I guess my nature is predicated upon a conviction to follow my passion, and to not judge myself if they seem changing or even conflicting. I’ve always felt that I am living a life most true to #mynature when I let go of the “shoulds” or the opinions or the fear or the “what do you want to be” and instead, move towards the question, “What makes you come alive?”
I am most alive when I am outdoors, when I’m lost in the mountains or on the trails. I’m most alive when I’m tucked away in a coffee shop in a far away place, with no plans at all. I’m most alive when I’m standing in the doorway of humanity, and learning from people who have endured in the face of real struggle.
Recently, I’ve been logging long miles on the trails, eager to get back to racing, but I know that the warmer weather will also find my cyclist friends whizzing past my house and shouting my name. I’m most alive when I’m tuning into my nature, really trying to get quiet and listen to my heart, like a hard-to-reach radio station, straining the dials a millimeter to the left, slightly to the right, until it catches, and a voice comes in loud and clear. That’s #mynature, daring me to accept another invitation, a bigger adventure, a deeper challenge.