An introduction, the Why and How, more Why than How.
I tend to write journal entries on one of a few devices, jotting down ideas, it helps me to recall thoughts that I had, ideas, some I don’t even recall until I reread them. And so I will start this blogging experiment with a few of these ramblings on the WHY. I think most of these start with the “why” or a gear list. I don’t have much advice to offer and so there won’t be too much of that.
At the heart of it is “why not”. Ever since the cancer diagnosis, particularly the diagnosis of metastatic disease in the end months of 2016 I’ve told myself I need to change, not to cure myself, that’s not up to me, or at least entirely up to me, very little to do with me, but a realization or question, how do I live now, the same? Yes, but no. Do I work until I’m dead? Even if dead is ten, twenty, thirty years off? I love work but of course there’s more, needs to be more, should I stop? what do I do? stop what I’m doing? A realization that time may be limited, or it may not, at that point I thought it most certainly would be. I think many with a diagnosis of this affliction, or a multitude of others that have to do with mortality, the answer to the question of what to do now is to just do what you did yesterday and today and keep doing that until you can no longer do what you do, it’s the default. Of course there is comfort in that, routine, stay the course,all is well.
Certainly there are numerous stories of cancer survivors dropping everything to reverse course, to get busy living in some way new and unique to them. At the time I certainly made a point to follow through with some travel plans with my sons, my wife, Greece and Prague, Dresden on bikes, Budapest by night train, Bike and Barge in the Netherlands and Belgium. On my return I got busy with more house rehab projects, which was just as much a part of this “doing” in the face of a mortal threat, this feeling of being unafraid to make a complicated mess and then rearrange and reassemble. A form of omnipotence, watch this oh cancer gods, certainly ego driven, confrontational, try and stop me, catch me if you can.
I can’t think I can cure myself, I’ve been there, I’ve researched, I’ve fasted and tinkered, I’ve been vegan and Keto, there’s merit to both. Active is better than not, certainly better than not. I do like the idea of my body burning calories all day to the point I cannot refill them, which is essentially controlled starvation, the body does well with this. That inability to replenish nutritional needs runs more along the lines of keto and fasting, it’s kind of fascinating science, but not for here. The body in near constant motion. This stoking the engine may not cure me, may or may not slow down or speed up the cancers progress. There’s simply nothing to lose except time away from family, and the forgoing of some income.
This should not be mistaken for anything having to do with a “bucket list”. Aside from really disliking that term I don’t see any point in trying to rush around the world to see and do as much as I can before I die, just to say just before I die “ look what I did”. I do like travel and I want more of those experiences but it’s not a collection, it’s a series of moments absorbed. I know what those moments feel like, a moment in the sun standing in a strange and-new to you-city, when all is quiet and the hordes of other tourists have momentarily disappeared, the discovery, even if it’s a fleeting moment, not a moment easily relatable as a bucket list brag.
It is simply about living before dying, or living while living, aware. This is true of all aspects of life, it is in a sense absorbing what life is, the beauty, the pain, the mystery, time with loved ones, friends and strangers, humanity, the elements, feeling it all before no longer feeling. Dirt and rocks underfoot, a trail that stretches on to somewhere, and no rush to get there.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.