Sacrificing to Live, Love, and Play

Up In Alaska: Jill’s Subarctic Journal is one of my favorite blogs. Jill is a journalist who is currently promoting her book, Ghost Trails: Journeys through a lifetime.

What I enjoy about Jill’s blog is that she is someone I can relate to – someone who lives in snow land and likes to ride – but someone I can’t even begin to motivate myself to aspire to be. However, Jill’s dedication really isn’t unobtainable, and I completely realize that. This is why her experiences serve as inspiration to me.

Jill is currently going through a life change similar to what I recently experienced. She has resigned from her journalist position with the hope of moving to Anchorage and is receiving a lot of pressure from her current employer to take a more demanding position that is a promotion with an incredible offer attached to it. She is battling with the idea of leaving this opportunity of wonderful job stability for adventure with an unknown professional life. In the end, all she wants to do is ride.

I just wanted to ride, as well. My resignation was in response to the lack of freedom I faced with my job. I spent 50% of my free time tethered to Houghton/Hancock at the will of my employer. If they wanted me there, I had to go. Due to their masterful timing, it became a situation that interfered with my riding, which is paramount to maintaining my sanity, and church – they usually called me in just as I arrived at the church parking lot or during Mass. I couldn’t help out with many trail work sessions due to the time constraints of being on call – I have to arrive within 30 minutes. It was simply no way to live.

I did a lot of research and found that a simple self-promotion would alleviate these issues. Unfortunately, this simple promotion involved resigning from a very stable, well-paying career and returning to college. I don’t think this is a popular choice for many in this time of economic hardship. It was a difficult choice for me. I had several reasons for making my decision and I did a lot of research before beginning this new journey. It most certainly is not easy now that I am back at school. It is very difficult trying to maintain my lifestyle while affording a roof over my head. It is scary. However, it is being done for the quest of happiness in the form of eventual freedom.

Andrea, The Accidental Athlete, left her job, several months ago, to pursue a freelance career. Like Jill, she is a writer. Unlike Jill, she has already taken the plunge. She seems to be happy with what she is doing. She is making positive life changes by focusing more on her riding and successfully losing excess weight, making her a lean, mean, racing machine.

Here we have three examples of female cyclists who are making career changes in a time when many can’t find jobs. What is our deal?

It isn’t that we don’t have responsibilities. We have to eat like everyone else, but why are we willing to throw stability out the window? Even while the need for money is a hot issue, do we recognize that it is not what makes us happy? Are we afraid of getting caught up in a lifestyle that focuses on making an income and tosses riding into the shadows of our lives? Do we place more importance on being truly happy now? Is this unrealistic? Would we rather live, love, and play, even if financial worries are always on the forefront of our minds?

I think so.

I think we know what really makes life worth living, and we already have all that we need to do just that. We recognize that while jobs are necessary, they are not all that we are.

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