Friday, January 05, 2007

"Lofty Goal" Resolutions

I wrote about resolutions yesterday, and here I am back again. It's a bigger subject than I'd thought. Who knew?

I'd written to a friend earlier this week about some resolutions a bit more grand than mustard tasting and PayPal accounts, and she titled her response "Lofty Goals...."

Those resolutions involved weightier things than tasting the mustard and finding a love interest. Yes, weightier even than that pie in the sky stuff.

Things like my goals for the year if this were the last year I'd be alive. (Isn't that how many of us arrive at our "lofty goal" resolutions, by imaging "lights out" time is looming?) If this is the last year you're going to be alive, you don't care much about loosing weight or radically improving your health in any way. And you sure don't care about putting in overtime at the office or watching as much television as, well, some do. You've got just three hundred something days, so it's time to get down to it. What would you DO? Leave home? Stay home? Talk to people on the phone? Visit relatives? Commit a crime? Become a monk? Lose your religion or get born again? Be decadent? Write a will? Volunteer in a gross job no one wants to do? Jump off a bridge? Become a nomad? Make a plan? Lose your mind? Go find yourself?

Me? I'm small potatoes. I'm more honest and open than most, but that just leaves me open to seeming overly proud or overly pathetic. Still, I'm here, it is now, and you are reading this, so....

If that were the case, Capital D Death is coming in January 2008. As for me, I'd set up and lead a few bike tours this year, in Texas and the Berkshires, and in the fall in Minnesota and Hawaii. I'd be sure to visit NYC, Yellowstone, San Francisco, Yosemite and the Big Sur Coast. By late spring, I'd have sold my car and almost all of my worldly possessions so I could pay off some debts and free the way to do the hike of my current dreams, "M2M" I call it, Manhattan to Montreal, via Schenectady, NY, where I was born. I'd walk north out of Battery Park on the summer solstice and wander roads and towns and trails up the Hudson, maybe swing a bit into the Catskills and get a major dose of the Adirondacks on my way to the St. Lawrence and Montreal, a place I've never been. I'd blog about this long walk as a means toward getting out a book about the journey, a la the long walks of some of my heroes and mentors, Thoreau, Muir, Abbey, Dillard, and McKibben. In fact, on New Year's Day, I wrote to Bill McKibben, the renowned author of The End of Nature and Wandering Home, and struck up a bit of correspondence about a route through that part of the world.

So is this a resolution? I'm not sure. It sounds like a pie in the sky plan to me. I haven't been doing "Big" things lately. The last few years, I've become more resigned to the small and here and now, become more ingrown and sadly close to home. But sometimes in a guy's life, he needs to break out and carpe terra. As my sister says, "Gotta bust a move!"

And so at least in words, words put down before you now, here is to that spirit.

Carpe anno, 2007.

Carpe vita.


At 1/07/2007 5:41 AM, Anonymous RQ said...

Catchey title--M2M. That's the hard part--thinking up a title. Blogging along the way night be the hard part. Satellite internet signals? Go for it! RQ

At 1/07/2007 8:42 AM, Blogger Lawrence said...

RQ, thanks for reading, and thanks for writing! And you know what? I am thinking now that I WILL do it, this summer, not "sometime," some year. Like I said: as if I really DO have a year to live, because in most prospects, I probably DO have a year to live (no matter how many more might follow after this one), so here goes???

I'm already excited enough to feel energized in other pursuits as well, rejuvenated. The scary thing now of course is that that feeling of rejuvenation could pass, as it does with so many of us, especially those prone to bouts of melancholy, resigned to bite-sized naps instead of big-sized dreams. (And I'll remind readers that the day after I graduated from high school, within twelve hours of taking off my cap and gown, I set off to ride my bicycle across the continent, a trip that went even further than coast to coast, ending at 5500 miles and exactly 100 days gone, so the precident for this rebirth of Long Something was set long ago.)

My original idea, about five years ago, , sometime in 2002, I believe, was Manhattan to Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, which would make the title M2K, perhaps even catchier. But then I thought of the idea of busting out for what seems to be a rather original route (in modern times) that includes both my birthplace and walking into a foreign country, ending in another large city, bringing things sort of full circle in some ways. So M2K will have to be VOLUME 2.

At 1/10/2007 1:23 PM, Anonymous D.O. said...

I'm finishing up an audio book by Bill Bryson about walking large parts of
the AT -- good to read your blog and be back in touch.

It's freezing up here so more later !



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