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Monday, November 10, 2008

Realization

I've always wondered how people manage their lives in the wake of monumental changes. It never ceases to amaze me how some people will be stoic and strong after losing a loved one or becomming unable to do the things they are most passionate about. It also stuns me to see how some people will become absolutely destroyed over minor things.

Before taking on the BattleWagon project, I thought that rock climbing was the thing that put this into perspective for me. I had considered that, being on a rock way up off the deck put things into a certain perspective that I couldn't gain anywhere else. When you're thinking of life and death and the things most important to you, you realize that things that aren't important fall by the wayside, that those things become inconsequential.

I challenged myself to live by this mantra. I pushed myself to believe in the sort of un-stated religion of the rock climber, the faith of the hard core, the severe, the extreme, and the gentle acceptance that, someday, death will find me, and that day will come for me sooner than for others in my life.

Recently, though, I moved into my van, and while I feel that rock climbing is a big part of who I am, I realize though the coldest nights so far, that many, many people are living a life more extreme than I. I live in a van with blankets and heat, and I wake up in the morning with a very cold nose. There are people that live with a blanket and no heat, crowded together under a bridge or in an alley, trying to stay warm.

Perhaps the most important difference is that I choose to rock climb. I chose to move into my van. For these other people with lower life expectancies than my own, they do not choose this. They haven't been educated to find their path in life. They haven't been taught the value of hard work. Or they have, and they can't do it. They lack the mental stability or the physical prowess to do the work that needs to be done.

I guess the point I'm trying to make living in this van, at least for me, is that while I don't need much to survive, there are comforts that I still take for granted. I have friends that will let me take showers at their places. I have a job. I have health insurance at my disposal. I can afford to take my van places that I haven't seen before, to take it and visit my family 150 miles away.

We'll see how this thing turns out. It's not yet an exercise in futility, but it is an exercise in patience and understanding.
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