Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shattered Street Toilet

Yesterday when I was driving home I was stuck at a light for several rotations when I noticed a young boy on his bike who had been riding on the tiny shoulder of the city street. It was dusk and he was likely heading home when he was stopped dead in his tracks by a shattered toilet – certainly not something one expects to see on a city street, not even in Baltimore. As I sat in traffic, waiting, I watched the boy weave through the line of unmoving cars and continue on his way, as he placed his bike on top of the thin cement median that separated the lanes of oncoming traffic and rode away. Sometimes it’s the most unexpected things that cause us to change direction.

Earlier in the day, yesterday, I was asked “why?” – what caused me to all of a sudden give up national derby sponsorship, something I love and am good at, and change direction, deciding I want to instead spend my time focusing on being a top derby player? I was a bit taken back by the question, because it’s one I’d never really asked myself. I typically put a lot of thought into decisions like that one, but this time the decision happened so organically that I didn’t even realize I was making it. Sure, there are factors I can cite as motivation (like being told I’d never be known for my playing), but none of those factors were reasons why I decided to take this new direction.

I feel like I’ve always lived a pretty calculated life. I knew the field I wanted to be in since I was in high school, and I’m still there today: publishing. I went to college, got a job, got a guy, and bought a house (albeit in different succession than most people). I go on vacations in the summer and I buy presents for people in the winter. I work 9 to 5. From the outside looking in I seem pretty darned predictable.

I know I’ve mentioned this before on here, but I feel like I’ve been undergoing some sort of massive change (and no, it’s not peri-menapause!). Maybe there wasn’t a shattered toilet in my path causing me to change direction, or maybe my shattered toilet was something more obscure than something as physical and concrete as a shattered toilet. Maybe it was a subtle shift in perception. Maybe I was already being drawn in another direction from the toilet before I ever knew it existed. Maybe I was walking toward the toilet and something in my periphery caught my eye, drawing me there instead.

Perhaps it’s the “life expectations” like falling in love, getting married, and having kids that are making me and others question the “why now”. Much like my non-derby life, I suppose my derby life doesn’t exactly follow the path of most derby careers, where one would initially be so drawn to the sport that she would do what I’m doing now and then move on to getting involved in the business aspect of derby when she could no longer play. When it comes down to it, I do the types of things everyone else does, and I used to think I just did them out of order. I’m now thinking I pretty much do whatever the fuck I want without regard to the typical “life expectations”.

I’m proud to know I’m confident enough in my navigational abilities to have left the roadmap behind, but I’m also scared that once other people see I’m without a road map that they’ll choose instead to be dropped off at the nearest service station so they can get back on whatever they think the correct “track” is. I’m lucky to have had people in my life that have been willing to go along on this joyride with me, but even they are slowly asking to be dropped off – getting married and “settling down”, taking “serious” jobs that require them to no longer have fun, and retiring from derby.

I guess I feel like my life has no time limit or dependencies or pre-planned route, and I cherish the freedom I’ve created in my life to pretty much do what I want when I want. And this is pretty much my answer to the “why”.

Why? Because it’s what I want to do right now, and because I want to do it I’m going to do it. It’s a simple answer that took quite a long time to explain, however I bet the explanation behind the shattered street toilet would take just as long as this one, if not longer. Which explanation is crappier? You decide! (… and I love my horrible humor too!)

1 comment:

Frenz said...

I don't think you're going to regret giving up some admin stuff to do more skating.
Actually taking steps to do that does more to focus your mind than anything else, and even if you don't do a one-to-one replacement of hours formerly spent doing admin stuff vs. hours now spent skating or training (which would probably be impossible, right?) I do think you'll feel the benefits in unexpected ways.