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Conflicted Struggle July 12, 2006 Tuesday

Conflicted Struggle

I mostly talk about the exhilaration, the sublime pleasure, and the adrenaline rush I get from being able to go to exotic places, meet wonderful people and eat blow-your-doors-off food, as I set out on my mountain bike with a full load on my backpack. It would seem like a hedonistic lifestyle with unbridled opportunities.

Privilege and Opportunities
Well, to a point, it is. Privileged - because I've been constrained on more than one occasion to walk away from nearly everything I own. Instead of a loss, I found the experience empowering (well, except perhaps my laptop and mountain bike). I've learned to walk away from money and earthly possessions, from relationships, religion, long-cherished beliefs and lucrative opportunities. I'd like to think my freedom lies in my detachment. Most people carry a baggage that leave them leashed to where they are. I call that being enshrined in a gilded cage. Unbridled opportunities - because I made a conscious decision to make it so...opening my mind to things unfamiliar and ever-so-hungry to learn from those who'd been there. Money plays a very minor role, contrary to what most people think.

Flipside of the Coin
It's not that easy to unlearn all the years of conservative upbringing. As rosy as it all looks from the outside, behind the scene however is a conflicted lonerider who struggle about being outside convention. As much as I wrestle myself away from social constraints and expectations, it continues to haunt me. Often times, I catch myself wandering into negative thinking...a 'bum' who should be doing the 9 - 5 like everybody else... unambitious for not implementing his vision for making more money...too here-and-now, he has no plan for his future, etc. If I don't catch myself early enough, this negativity gets the better of me and leaves me with a sense of falsehood without a sense of bearing.

Paid my Dues
Like a wrongly-accused defendant in front of a judge, I'd snap back with a rebuttal...all within my head - it can't be! I've done the whole 9 yards and paid my dues - graduate on time, do the 9 - 5 climbing the corporate ladder, live and work abroad, marry, kids, white picket fenced house in the burbs, shovel snow in winter, mow the grass in summer, divorce, free-lance career, getting the pink slip, travel, etc. I've already earned my stripes and I'm entitled to exercise my freedom in the way I can. At this point, I already know what I want from life...and no Pontius Pilate can tell me otherwise.

The Rationalization
I take comfort justifying further that I make productive use of my time - I'm doing a self-study on my French, doing yogic exercises to awaken my third eye, reading up on classic books, keeping fit with my workouts, hiking to obscure and remote places, mountain biking on new single-tracks, teaching web design, feeling my way to learn pottery, learning to cook from the master chef himself, Chef Aklay...I'm doing plenty. In fact, it's difficult to keep still with all the opportunities that lay ahead.

Ending Thoughts
Given all that mindful clutter, thanks to yoga, I'm able to step back, distance myself from the turmoil like a disinterested third party, and begin to see the bigger picture.

We all have our own idea of what we want to do, where we want to go and what we want to be. It's practically a 60's cliché - go where you wanna go, be what you wanna be, do what you wanna do. The great majority however, postpone that for later..."not until I get establiished in my career", then followed by, "maybe when the kids are grown up"...and so on. At 65, they retire and finally decide to do what they have always wanted to do...only to find out the moment or the oppportunity is not there anymore. They look back and see an ocean of should-have-beens. Suddenly they feel cheated out on life...that it passed them by.

This scenario repeats itself way too often. It's a blatant fact where the conclusion is already in your face. Why reinvent the wheel? The lessons are there for the taking. Life is short and time is expensive. There is no other way. Life is how you stay real...let it rip!

--- TheLoneRider

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