It’s been a month or two since I wrote last (sorry guys) and somewhere around a year since I stumbled my way into the idea of my ride. I’d like to say that ever since that ride, I’ve been a magically changed person for my heroic deeds, but as I think about it now -- I’m not, at least not entirely.
The more I think about these past few months, the more convinced I am that my ride was a gift. Every mile I rode had glorious purpose -- each pedal stroke was for the vast and mysterious ¨greater good;¨ every grain of effort was an act of service. I was often tired and sore, but I was never actually exhausted. Exhaustion is, to me, that sickening, heavy apathy that envelops us when we have lost our inclination through burnout, disappointment, or worst of all the lack of a point to it all. I have come to believe that our greatest enemy is not adversity -- it’s actually the opposite: purpose, or the devastating lack thereof.
As most seniors do, I have somewhat spectacularly ¨burned out.¨ I feel more exhausted on any given morning these days than I felt the night of my hardest day during the ride. Uncomprehending, I’ve searched for that dizzying, elusive sense of ¨purpose¨ -- thoroughly researching the Incan trails used to hike Macchu Picchu, obsessing over my newest, shiniest, dream of studying abroad in India, and thousands of other flitting ideas.
The pressure was compounded when so many people told me how much of an inspiration I had been to them -- I began to stress out about continuing to appear good with children, never faltering in resolve, always kind and optimistic and grateful -- all without coming off as an unbearable snob.
The more I have struggled to live up to my own perceptions of the expectations laid on me, the more I fell short, and consequently, the more I found myself drowning in my own frustrated apathy and disinclination. Thusly, I have gradually been approaching the conclusion (unbeknownst to myself) that it’s time to stop focusing on being a model citizen and start seeing the inspiration, the epic, in the glorious struggle of everyday life -- the commonplace epiphanies of a 17-year-old girl who still rolls out of bed and sleeps on the floor for 5 minutes most mornings, who attempts to suppress a bout of delighted skipping when her English teacher says her outfit is looking quite French today, who occasionally glances at her Calculus homework, throws back her head for a nice long laugh and proceeds to plunk around on the piano playing nothing in particular, or lie on the floor staring at the ceiling with a book lying nearby tossing about the vague notion of maybe reading a bit.
I think it’s time, folks, for Bethanywhere to no longer be just the story of a swell adventure that had a nice clean exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution, and instead slide into a horrid murky epilogue in which I wax philosophical and turn everything on its head and claim that maybe we ought to redefine ¨epic,¨ thus destroying the nice neat theme of the entire story.
For all you wonderful people who have put up with my general nonsense over the course of this adventure and all that came after, my deepest thanks. And for those of you who enthusiastically encouraged my writing and furnished me with journals, pens, (fountain pens, too) reading material, and even a typewriter -- this particular blog post is definitely all your fault; I hope you’re pleased with yourselves.
I think I shall continue my writing, for better or for worse, and in the future, I think you can expect more and more of the mundane musings that keep me sane and follow me everywhere.
I’ll always be fascinated with all things epic, and by no means have I given up my dreams to summit Everest, tame Wrigley, and somehow, someday become tough enough (and cool enough) to live in Alaska -- but there’s one or two things to write about right here in Franklin, Indiana, and I think for now that’s just what I’ll do.