G is for Generalist

This is Lady Bird, my pack raft. She is one of three water-craft I own and split time between. Just like I portion off time between my backcountry touring skis, downhill skis, skate skis, and track skis. Much the way I feel torn between my mountain bike and my motor bike, my biking boots and my rock shoes, my waterfall ice axes and my mountaineering axe…you see, I am a generalist, through and through.

I think, just eight days shy (hint, hint) of my” twice my birth date birthday” (figure that one out), I have finally accepted that I am a generalist…and perhaps, more importantly, accepted that I will always be this way…that my gear room will always be filled to overflowing, that it will never feel like there is enough time to wind surf, white-water boat, sea kayak, backpack, pack raft, train, garden, ride the moto bikes, explore the Avalon, play six games of hockey and see friends for a game of Cranium in any average week or weekend, and that I’ll never as highly skilled as any of my specialist friends.

On the other hand, I can tie knots, paddle with one blade or two, rappel off a cliff into a sea kayak waiting below, ride a bike across dirt or pavement, ski across water, snow, and ice, swim, run, jump, play, climb high mountains and dive to depths under the sea…my generalist tendencies have led me to 40 countries and 7 continents and that’s pretty cool. This weekend, in looking for my own special version of the “G spot” meaning getting as many activities into one weekend as I possibly could, I paddled a canoe, dug in the garden, planted potatoes and tomatoes, went orienteering, took pictures, dreamed and drooled over maps looking for pack raft routes on the Avalon, baked a fog cake, turned the compost pile, and put the unfortunately dead battery into my motor bike…all in all, a perfect generalist weekend that I wasn’t supposed to have since we had been planning to paddle the Main River (but the water was too low)…which then opened up the week and weekend to entire lists of things I’d like to do…

One of the toughest things for me as a generalist is that when I am choosing activity x, I’m not able to do activity y…i.e. because we paddled with the canoe club for National Paddling Day on Saturday (a fabulous day out by the way), I didn’t attend a Buddhist training on fearlessness or help build a garden at the Brother Brennan Environmental Centre…so sometimes it’s hard to choose as I feel grief and leaving other options/activities behind…sometimes I’m lucky and can combine things…like backpacking and rafting into pack rafting…or hiking and motor biking into a bike hike…and sometimes, I just have to accept the fork in the road.

So this weekend has been sponsored by the letter G and G is for Generalist…and I am proudly a generalist.

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2 Responses to G is for Generalist

  1. Anonymous says:

    A generalist is a well rounded person!! I think I am much the same way.. My attention span and curiosity would not allow me to focus on just ‘one’ thing for the rest of my life. I would feel that I’m missing out. I love to garden, paint watercolours, hike, travel, play scrabble, pursue spirituality(more toward the buddhist bent with christianity thrown in there); help others affected by alcoholism; follow your exciting life; and, learn all I can about ‘everything’, Keep on experiencing all you can experience. You will never be ‘bored’.

    • TA Loeffler says:

      Thanks…good to know there are other proud generalists out there…my happiest days are those in which “I suck the marrow from the bones”. Up early this am to plant some broccoli! And now onto some work at work…

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