The art of showing up

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska – Author and entrepreneur James Clear said, “Master the art of showing up.”

I sometimes struggle with this. If someone asks what I do after work, it’s easy to deliver a line about writing columns, tying flies, shooting my bow, hiking, fishing, whatever, because that fits the narrative that people might expect. Jeff Lund writes about the outdoors, so he must be outside all the time.
Not true.

I’m outside a lot, but I admit I get distracted from productivity like everyone else and I think that’s the key. I feel guilty when I waste a good afternoon on nothing. It’s as though I’ve cheated myself out of something real just because I can’t get off the couch. No, that’s not right, it’s not that I couldn’t get off the couch, it’s that I made the choice not get off the couch.

Nothing changes unless you’re honest with yourself. You can’t get better or more efficient unless you analyze reality. You’re not really an angler if you went fishing once. You’re not a healthy eater because you ate Kale last Thursday. The washer and dryer do all the work, so you didn’t really just do laundry all day.

I have a lot of free time in my life because I am largely unsupervised. That is, I don’t have a wife, kids or pets, so only I know the amount of free time I have and how much of that time I use to do real things.

I decided when I moved back to Alaska it would be really easy to trick people into thinking I lived a really adventurous life. But that’s not what it’s about and that’s not what I want. I have the chance to live the life I was deprived of while in California. Gone are two hour drives through traffic to get to packed campsites to fish near people who use gobs of Powerbait to catch stocked trout. No more do I have to follow long streams of people traversing paved paths to get to pretty places in Yosemite. Solitude is available on a scale I haven’t experienced since high school when, of course, things are different. My summer long reunions with the wilds of Prince of Wales were great reminders of what was possible.

Now that I have reset my roots, I can show up with ease.

It doesn’t take planning or traffic reports. But I still have to show up. Just because I can, and did, doesn’t mean I will. It’s maybe a little easier once it becomes a habit but there is no end to the struggle. No one ever solves or defeats laziness, they just understand they are in a constant battle against it and refuse to let their guard down. If they do, it’s with full knowledge that the battle must resume once the game ends and the queso dip and Fritos are gone.

A plan is nothing more than an idea. It’s not really step one. Step one is motion in the desired direction. A plan is the preamble, the introduction.

So get outside. Get to the gym. If it’s raining, get to the trail anyway. Maybe you don’t go as fast or for as long, but it’s better than nothing. Plus, it’s better to start or keep that habit now, rather than try to start back up again in the cold and dark of winter.

Why else do we live here, right?

See column at:

Leave a Reply