Aspiration

not-there-yet300(drawing by Tom Krepcio)Right up there, at the top of this web page below my name, are those five words."Writer, outdoor athlete, environmental activist."But the truth is...I don't really feel as though I'm any of those things.'Writer' is closest, in my mind, to be being true. I write, therefore I'm a writer. I've been paid for it. People have complimented me on it. But I could quickly -- oh so quickly -- tell you the ways in which I'm notĀ really a writer. No national magazine articles. No books. No big following on this blog. Etc etc etc etc.'Outdoor athlete'? That's just totally aspirational, something I want to be, not something I am. I've run some races. I ride my bike(s). I'm not in bad shape. But there've been no trophies (except age-group), no wins, no endorsements. If the definition of an athlete is someone who's training for something, not just doing it to be healthy, then okay, I have a couple of upcoming trail races in mind. But 'athlete,' to me, conjures a level of commitment, of achievement, of just plain stoke, that I'm not living out on a daily basis.'Environmental activist'? Please.TVA coal powers my lights, my washer and dryer. Gasoline powers both our cars (even if they are Priuses...). I buy KrogerĀ spinach (even if it is 'organic') that was farmed in Chile and crammed into single-use plastic bins. If 'activist' means 'clicks those Facebook links to tell somebody to stop doing something,' then yeah, I'm your boy.And yet. And yet.I'm glad those words are up there. Because putting them there was one of the most honest, one of the gutsiest, actions I've ever taken. Because those things are what I aspire to be.A few years ago, I would have thought it was silly, if not downright misleading, to describe myself with those words. But I've come to believe that the action itself has power. The aspiration itself pushes, aids and abets, makes more likely and possible, the realization of those labels. Whatever they mean to me.When I'm lost, distracted, unfocused, I can return to those three things.And it feels true to who I am now, as well as who I hope to be.

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