Monday, November 29, 2010

a midlife crisis

I may be experiencing a midlife crisis.

I probably have a life other people dream about: I cycle to work on beautiful singletrack. My job is flexible enough to allow me to arrive late if i've had a late evening at Dark&Dirty, or to leave early on a Friday if there's something happening in Sabie. On weekends i play - on the rare weekends that there are no events, i ride with zebras and giraffe in Groenkloof, or over floating bridges at Teak's place, or i run singletrack at Van Gaalens. Life is good. It doesn't get much better than riding awesome singletrack with great buddies.
Yet in a strange way i feel unsatisfied. There must be something more? Is there?

I need a new dream.

Someone suggested a sportscar. The micra's got a sunroof, a bike rack and a roofrack for the kayak - it doesn't get much sportier than that :)

So - what are the options?

  • Do an MBA

not because it would solve any problems, nor because i necessarily would get a better job (that would be hard to beat)  - but simply because it would challenge me.

It's expensive - i could buy a really really nice bike with that budget. with lots of change to go ride it somewhere exotic. But then life is not (only) about playing outside - at least that's what i heard :)

It would broaden my horizons. I've looked at Gibs' curriculum. The subjects look really interesting: Business analysis and communication, financial accounting, management accounting, information & knowledge management. Useful. It might help with at least some of the problems i (try to) solve at work :)

I've looked at the admission requirements (Gmat tests) and loved the types of questions. I'm already looking forward to the mental challenge - being out of my comfort zone for a while (before getting back, hopefully satisfied).

The workload would be very high if i tried to do it part time. I would probably have to give up some or all of my free time for 2 years. Including singletracktime. (Which may not be a bad thing - i might appreciate it more if i can't do it every weekend.)

The MBA is still a very real solution. It just have to wait a bit, i'm not ready to give up all my free time - yet.

  • Do the Freedom Challenge
The Ride across South Africa grabbed my attention since i first heard about it many years ago. I was delighted to discover the Ride2Rhodes, the first 6 days of Freedom Challenge - to go see for myself what it's like without any long-term commitment. I was toying with the idea last year when i came back after Ride2Rhodes, and the other people continued. Simply because of the great people I met, and the awesomeness of the trails. I was toying with the idea again this year when Mike posted pictures of knee-deep snow on Lehana. I was just back from the  Himalayas and there was more snow here in sunny South Africa! What a beautiful place.

This time the reason for wanting to do it is different. I need to get away from my comfort zone, to be an outsider looking into my life. Can't evaluate it properly while still being in it. I don't know if the Freedom Challenge is the right place for that. It's hard - physically, mentally - hard enough to not want extra pressures from somewhere else. 

But it will still be there 3 years from now. Or 5.
It's calling, and i'll go.
Just not now.

  • Go climb some impossible mountain
Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Eiger. Some big mountain that needs a bit of skill, planning, training. Bring back some stunning pictures. I was briefly tempted when someone suggested Matterhorn a few weeks ago. Am still tempted, but i don't think this will solve anything. I'm gonna be outside for 3/4 weeks - then fall right back to where i was, everything still exactly the same. Like it was after the trip to Everest Base camp earlier this year.
A brief spell.
I would still like to do this.
It will still be there a few years from now.
  • Pack the bike up and go tour somewhere
Unsupported, unplanned. Pack panniers on the bike & ride till it's dark. Stay over if it's nice, move on if it's not. Coffee & donuts for breakfast. Cheese & bread from a local shop for supper. Pitch a tent at night, or find a youth hostel if it's too wet.
    • From Paris to Marrakesh, it's been on the to-do list for a while.
    • Somewhere in South America. Not sure exactly where. Don't know how much of Inka trail hiking could be done without proper advanced planning - permits, people to hike with?
    • Somewhere in Iceland? Canada? Sangri-La?
The boss knows that i might request extended unpaid leave at some stage. Now i just need to carefully study that budget to see how long the homeloan, insurance, medical aid and levies would be able to survive without a regular salary .... 

Anyone who wants to  join me for a part of the tour? Or meet up for coffee along the way?
Or any other (cheaper) alternatives for getting rid of a midlife crisis?


Jaco Strydom said...

Or ride from Beit Bridge to PMB with me. 28 May 2011, 06h00 at Beit Bridge. See you there!

onegiantride said...

Doing Freedom Challenge will give you that outsider's perspective and take you out of your comfort zone. It will also make you question why you ride, especially afterwards, not in the sense that you'll want to stop riding but because you'll become more selective about when and where you ride - and that could mean more time for doing the MBA or going to climb that mountain.

Anonymous said...

Do both (all 4?) - but keep the Freedom Challenge in your sights!

cat-i said...

Haha Rodney i like the way you think :D