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?
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