Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fun and Ease.

Lately, it keeps coming to my attention how easy I have it.  I don't say this, as if it is some happenstance over which I luckily rendezvoused with.  I have created a life of ease.  I have carved out an existence that is focused on seeking out and squeezing the fun out life.  I'm not really sure why one would do it any other way, but this blog is about me.  While I don't think seeking fun was my original, deliberate intent, it certainly is now and if there is anything I am committed and ease are it.

While both are on the positive side of the emotional spectrum, fun and ease might not be that close together.  In some ways fun can be far away from ease, as fun can be synonymous with adventure, new experiences, risk, putting oneself out there.  The path to fun is not always an easy one or at least not extreme fun.  Ease, bliss, simplicity are states that are more devoid of their opposite negative emotions or maybe that is just how I recognize them.  My life vacillates between ease and extreme fun.  Sometimes, especially when in the midst of extreme fun, I tell myself I can/want to sustain that forever, but, I have found that times or even seasons of ease can feel just as good and provide the contrast to be able to recognize and appreciate that more fun-filled times.  This winter, I experienced extreme ease.  

Robot in Paradise

Robot may have a boring connotation to some, but I do not find that to be the case.  I often enjoy being a robot.....because it is easy.  Robots are programmed with few and simple tasks and do not need to think for themselves.  While this may not sound appealing, I work seasonally, so is not something I could/or would want to do forever or even more than a few months at a time.

This winter I was forturnate enough to be a robot in the most beautiful place I have yet called home.  I was a lift operator in Crested Butte, Colorado.  I had previously only visited Crested Butte in the summer and since, it has been high on my list of places to live.  As the quintesential mountain town, Crested Butte is an optimal place to find extreme amounts of fun, but after a fall of outrageous non-stop fun, I was more in the mood for ease and bliss, and it delivered.  

I had the same job all winter (December-March), but moved half-way through.  The second half of winter was way more fun because of closer proximity to work and the town of Crested Butte, but the whole thing was easy.  The first two months, I lived 30 miles down the valley from the resort and rode a free bus both ways.  My quality of life dramatically improved with I moved up to Mt. Crested Butte, and found myself with three extra hours a day that had previously been spent commuting.  

The latter home was a five minute walk to our locker room that was 100 yards away from the lift I worked on.  This was the first time I have lived within walking distance of ski lifts.  It could not have been much easier.  The job itself was the robotic part.  After a few minutes anyone can operate one of the lifts, so the rest of the four months is a mental game of endurance and withstanding the ever-changing weather conditions.  While this was my sixth winter in a high-altitude mountainous environment, it was my first working outside, and apparently, I picked one of the coldest places in the US to stand outside all day.  

What seemed like those brief times, when it was warm enough to remove some of the 30 pounds of clothes, I was wearing, it was really an enjoyable (borderline blissful) job.  The views from my work stations were unreal.  While pictures can't do it justice, either can my words.

View from the top shack, where I worked once or twice a week.
Same view.

Although set in extreme conditions amongst extreme beauty, it turned out to be the most "normal" jobs, I've had in awhile.  Same time, same place, eight hours a day, five days a week.  While not something I want to make a habit of, I relished in the robotic experience and took advantage of the serenity of the winter to rest for what is next.

And what is next, if the past is any indication, is likely to lean more towards the extreme fun side of the spectrum.  After an a week long transition that included van-dwelling and mountain biking in the desert and traversing the Great Basin, I am back at the Stanford Sierra compound, gearing up for the spring conference season that starts tomorrow.  Life here is beyond easy and there is as much fun available as I am willing to suck out of this sweet little spot tucked in the Tahoe Sierra.