The Work/Life/Rec Balance
Everyone has heard the phrase, "work/life balance" before. Let's take that one step further and examine something a little more. Let's add the "rec" tag. How does recreation fit into the picture? How much is enough recreation? Is there such a thing as too much? All valid questions, if you ask me. How about we talk it out...
Let's be honest here... with social media in our faces literally all day/every day, we're bombarded with images of how our life "should be" sending us into a tailspin of side-by-side comparison with this blogger and that travel-freak. It's safe to say that most Insta-famous peeps out there aren't maligned in their intent; they do not intend harm. But in examining human nature and its programmed responses, well, let's just say that jealousy can rear its ugly head. As a viewer of all of these "grand adventurers" we may tend toward feelings of lack and want. Is this telling us something about ourselves though? Well, let me present to you some personal experiences and let's see where we end up.
The Weekend Warrior
Weekend warrior: a person who participates in an activity only in their spare time.
The weekend warrior label is a label most must take, willingly or not. It is simply a fact of living in a our society based around the Monday through Friday grind. It is also used as pejorative term...eliciting images of lines of cars, SUVs, toy-haulers, and trailers making a jailbreak for the nearest campground or ski hill every Friday evening or early Saturday morning only to race back to town every Sunday afternoon. Good? Bad? Annoying? Necessary?...really, it just is.
To be honest, yes, the massive influx of traffic on the rivers, ski slopes, campgrounds, and highways can get a little frustrating but let's remember that they/we have just as much right
to be there as you/they do. For the most part, humans just want to be outside, at least from
time to time. After all, we are animals. For most, the reality is this: weekend = free time to break the shackles of routine and reconnect with our life-giving-earth. I've been there. You've most likely been there. You may still be there for now or indefinitely.
The Set-Your-Own-Hours employee/Entrepreneur/Freedom-life-seeker
More and more we're seeing a sweeping shift in the way business is run. More and more we're seeing flexible schedules and work-from-home scenarios. More and more, the term "entrepreneur" is popping up. Times change. People adapt. Traditional trades and means of income still reign yet so many more non-traditional opportunities abound. This is great news for our workforce, bringing with it greater freedom of schedule, greater ease of the work/life balance. But with great freedom comes great responsibility. Time management becomes an issue. Just because you wake up to a fresh powder day today doesn't always mean you can just run up to the ski hill right away....or maybe it does but it also means your Saturday is now dedicated to the home-office.
The Industry Professional/Lifestyle Blogger-Writer
These folks are the ones living the dream, right?! The ones GET to be outside, fishing, traveling, photographing, doing industry shows day after day, after day, after day....... after day.
For many who go clock in for a traditional 9 to 5 (but most likely later than 5), the lore of the getting to sit waist-deep in the industry or hobby that you love sounds like heaven on earth. Well, you're right...it is. But not without sacrifices. You see, there's a trade-off here as there is in with most jobs/careers/vocations/passions in life.
I've been fortunate in my pursuits, but also present in the decisions that lead to their fruition. I've been a licensed, practicing, working fly fishing guide for a decade. I've made a very conscious decision to couple my love and knowledge for the outdoors with starting a lifestyle brand. That's not wading waist-deep into industry waters....that's jumping in over your head!
Yes, I've dedicated my life to my passions. Many others have before me. Many others will after. But swimming daily in your passions puts A LOT of emphasis on those passions. It compresses most "warriors'" 4,000 plus lifetime weekends into a matter of 12 years! That's a lot of emphasis! That's burnout mode for most. During the guiding season I'm on the water 7 days a week rowing and helping people fish, not fishing myself. As an industry pro/lifestyle company owner I'm on my computer or designing or writing content or making contacts or talking the manufacturer through complicated steps 7 days a week. It doesn't sleep. It doesn't shut off. I have to choose to shut it off. So as glorious as it may sound to be in the industry....there's a trade off.
Would I change the way I do what I do? Not in a million years. I love it. The fire burns deep and steady. But I CHOOSE to be in it 24/7. I have no boss, no time clock but I have no one to cry to, no one to be responsible for everything but me.
What does this all mean anyway?
"Everyone on the internet...they're not having as great a time as you think they are." - Fred from Portlandia
"I guess people are just cropping out all the sadness." - Carrie from Portlandia
In need of a little comic relief here? Go YouTube "cropping out the sadness Portlandia." There's a dark, satirical but somewhat truthful take on social media here. All you're seeing is all the "good" or even "constructed good" or "whole-lotta-good" distilled down into short, rapid-fire bursts on a daily basis. Comparison is the thief of joy. So don't do it. Easy, right?! Well, at least be aware of it and you can understand your inclinations.
The reason Downstream exists is to promote and unify an aligned living through the great outdoors. The operative word here is ALIGNED and that has different connotations/meanings/applications for everyone. There is no wrong way to do life. It's your choice...but let's not pretend we don't have choices! Let's also remember that life is not without problems and complications. We choose one career path which has it's inherent set of problems. If we don't like those problems, we can choose another. Those problems and complications are now gone....only to be replaced by a new set of problems and complications. IN LIFE, WE CHOOSE THE SET OF PROBLEMS WE WANT TO HAVE. This is, simply, the way it is.
I know many who are "weekend warriors" and feel aligned in doing so. They don't have to be outside every single day...they just need to be able to re-align in nature after putting in a good, hard work week.
I know many who are entrepreneurs or have work-from-home opportunities and who feel aligned in such a feeling. They enjoy the freedom of schedule and over-seers and prefer to take on a bit more responsibility to earn that flexibility.
I know many (myself included) who are industry pros and are submerged fully in their passions day after day and feel great alignment in getting to be outside or at least working in the genre on a daily basis.
Trust your inner guidance system. Trust your alignment. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing. Stay true to you. A little outdoor adventure here and there....a few days of outdoor adventure per week....spending every day working outside or in the industry.... there is no right or wrong. We are all together in what we do...in nature's role in our lives. We are all in awe of her majesty and her ability to ground and center. We are all together in our passion. That is life flowing.... Downstream living.
As per usual, thanks for allowing the rant...