Half-Hearted Fanatic

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic.

Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here.

So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.

Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

~Edward Abbey

abbey

I wish I was more of a wanderer.

My history of travels might seem to negate this wish, but it is nonetheless true. I yearn for a different constitution. One where Abbey’s type of synchronicity and life balance are within my grasp.

Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m on my way, but reading Abbey‘s words today, something caught in my throat.

Listening to ceaseless committee meetings and worrying over student loans – let alone any sort of healthcare or retirement plan – gets old fast.

I just want to grab that canoe and paddle; pack light and camp under the stars; breathe in pine and muck and outside; jump on a plane to somewhere wild.

Yet part of my deepest self holds me back.

I do not apologize for my ambition, nor am I ever willing to let it flag. I think I can make change, and goddammit I will.

And there’s the rub.

How does one really become a “part-time crusader”? How do you not feel guilty about not doing it all, just some? If I’m not fully dedicated, then isn’t it a bit hypocritical? How do you not work on “becoming” and rather just “be”?

I’ve seen the worst of burnout, not the least of which in my current organization, and I know it’s not what I want. Truly accepting what it takes to prevent it, well… that’s a different story.

So tonight, I’ll have this great beer, welcome amazing friends into my home, and stay outside just a little too late; appreciating this mysterious and awesome space.

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