Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A preamble to Coffeeneuring

When Mary posted this year's Coffeeneuring challenge, my first reaction was "oh, I'm too busy to do that this year. Twice was enough." I was comfortable with that decision. I even (finally) met Mary in-person a few weeks ago at BikeDC's famed Friday Coffee Club, and led with the confession that I wouldn't participate this year.

And then things changed.

I started seeing #coffeeneuring posts all over Instagram and Twitter this past weekend, and then today, I saw the only other Philadelphian I know (other than the one with whom I live) who has participated in coffeeneuring post his trip on Instagram, and I got jealous. Not even a FOMO-type jealousy, where there's jealousy for jealousy's sake. But a jealousy of wanting to be out on my bike, riding to coffee shops, and enjoying autumn. And then there was the jealousy of broadcasting it. I got jealous of my former self. I used to write all the time: academic papers, blog posts, journal entries, and the like. Now all I write are emails, and lots of them. When the point of email is to keep it short, unemotional, and impersonal, there's little room for any sort of expression. It's hard to consider anything that I do "writing."

As is typical of folks my age (so I'm told, though it always feels like everyone else has "it" "figured out"), life has been a little transient in recent memory. Since I Mastered Arts (all of them, yup) and moved from Seattle to Philadelphia in June 2014, I:

  • have lived in three homes
  • have had six jobs
...and a whole bunch of other things that are less numerically interesting.

Programming note: one thing that is particularly interesting is how the "thing" that got me started with this blog is no longer meaningful to me. I keep my blog's title as an acknowledgment that things change.

With so much change, it's hard to feel grounded. I think this is common for people in all stages of life, but it feels particularly immediate in this post-college/post-grad school moment. Bicycling is a relatively new part of my life, but it helps keep me grounded. My daily commute through city streets doesn't do that, though. It takes a bit more.

I get a lot out of yoga, but my favorite part right now is toward the beginning of a class, the "set an intention for your practice" part. I'm viewing coffeeneuring as a practice, with the intention of mindfulness and adaptability. If something does not serve my practice, I will get rid of it. If my practice calls out for something else, I will engage in it. There may be weekly ride descriptions, and there may not be. I may give up halfway through the season. But I'm going to try. 

Stay tuned for Coffeeneuring 2015: Mindfulness Edition. Or don't. But I'll probably be here.