Lately, I find myself in a rush all the time. There always seems to be something that needs to be done. The mornings are hectic, filled with chores that my wife and I split up to get ourselves ready for work, the baby ready for daycare and simply get out of the house and on our way. Once on the highway, I struggle with the rat race. People are always going too fast or too slow for me, and are no doubt, mindlessly going to work as I am. Once in the office…well, there is no shortage of work to do. Meetings and daily fires make the time pass quite quickly and before I know it, I’m late for lunch!
Lunch has turned into a one hour period where I run errands. Today for instance, I had to go to the University to a buy an overpriced, used (pretty much falling apart) book for my upcoming Financial Management class. Getting there is a major struggle with traffic and lights, and takes three times as long as it should. Parking is an even bigger nightmare. Once I find a spot to sneak my full size truck into, I have to rush to the bookstore and back as quickly as possible so I won’t get a parking ticket. Once I am through with the bookstore, I head to the mall. Again, traffic, parking and lots of people push my buttons. I find what I’m looking for, but continue to stress out about getting the “perfect” Christmas presents for the ones I love.
Back at work, I continue the day with more meetings and yes, more fires to put out. I’m lucky to cross off one thing from my ongoing task list in a day. When I’m heading home, yes you guessed it, more traffic. The traffic has been worse as of lately due to the holidays. Once home, Jill and I get to work quickly doing our nightly chores to make sure Lylah is all set for the evening as well as the next day. One of us feeds her while the other cleans her bottles and prepares her lunch for the next day. Every other night, she gets a tubby (she loves tubbys) just before her nightly bottle. After her nightly bottle, we get her jammies on and settle down with a few books. As she’s getting older, she’s getting more playful and curious of the books, so it takes a bit longer before she is tired enough to be put down. On a good night, we’re done with our chores around 8:30pm. At this point, Jill and I can start focusing on what we need to do. Sometimes, it’s more work (I have conference calls with Asia on a regular basis). Lately, it’s present wrapping, checking addresses for Christmas cards and stuff of that nature.
Now, it may seem like I’m complaining here, but I promise, I’m not. I decided to write about this because I came to a realization today. On my way back from the University at lunch, pretty aggravated and annoyed at the traffic at that moment, I really questioned how my life became so hectic and stressful. In this life, I would be so happy if I could pack Jill and Lylah up, buy a house up in Jackson, NH, nestled in the beautiful White Mountains, and move up there. In that perfect world, I would I get a job doing something outside…maybe a New Hampshire Fish & Game Warden or do something for the U.S. Forest Service…low stress! Money wouldn’t be an issue because we would have each other and that is all that matters. We would be able to look at the mountains from our front porch and know that beauty is always around us. I dream of this often, especially when I’m in an aggravated state and the rat race has me all strung out. But, as that dream often does, it ends abruptly and I realize that it is nothing more than pipedream. I don’t believe I will be able to move us up there anytime soon. There are much more important things like making sure Lylah grows up in a loving home, in a bigger house (with siblings), has the privilege of a good school district, etc. to make sure happens. For now, my rat race is the best means I have of providing that for her.
So again, like I said, I’m absolutely not complaining. We watched It’s a Wonderful Life the other night. Like George Bailey, I will always want to live where my passion is. For him, it was exotic traveling...for me, it's the mountains. Of course, I wouldn’t give up the people in my life, ever, nor is anything worth that… I’d just take them all with me :). Ensuring that the people I love are well taken care of is well worth the price to not living up north. The next time I get stuck in the rat race commute (which will undoubtedly be tomorrow morning!!!), I will not get aggravated but instead think of how I have a Wonderful Life too! Sure, I don’t get to stand on a mountain top every day or go in search of wildlife on a regular basis, but I do get to come home to a raspberry blowing baby whose smile lights up the room. I get to curl up on the couch with the wifey and drink hot cocoa every night (you can’t put a price on that)! I don’t need the mountains for these precious moments.
Now, our latest plan is to possibly buy a small cottage or summer home in Jackson sometime in the future, hopefully the near future. We will work on adapting that into an all season home that Jill and I can retire to full time when all the kids have graduated. Until then, I’ll continue day hiking with Jill and soaking in as much of the outdoors as my busy schedule allows. I will continue to write about my passion for the mountains here, as an escape from the rat race when needed. As John Muir said, “Going to the Mountains Is Going Home”. For me, I hope that will be a permanent reality…someday!
In order to get through tough days at work, I have a few tools to help me. I thought I would share them with you. Here are some snapshots of my office!
White Mountains maps on my wall! Great to plan out my adventures at lunch.
My desk calendar that Jill made me last year which reminds me of all our great hikes so far!
My White Mountains calendar, coincidentally has the Jackson Covered Bridge highlighted for December!
The Old Man, hanging proudly on my office wall!