Sunday, September 18, 2011

walking the line

What is the line between obsession and desire? Would you know it if you crossed it? How would you find your way back? Would you even want to?

"You seem kind of...obsessed." The words hit me like a wet washcloth. I've been thinking about it for a few days now. Lately my outdoor adventures have hit a fever pitch. I keep trying to go farther on the bike and on foot. When I only go a few miles, or an hour, I agonize. Maybe I should go out and run three miles. Four. Because I didn't get enough out of that hike. You know, just because. I ate brownies today. I don't want to get out of shape. Winter is coming.

I have met obsession before and I know its bittersweet taste. In my early twenties I ran and ran. Everything I did revolved around my next run. I wouldn't go away for a weekend because I might miss a run. I ran inconveniently, in storms and ice. I stared at my running log, looking for that perfect number--40 miles a week, at less than 8:00 pace.

That was obsession, but the flip side of obsession is passion. People without it bore me. Even if it is something I would never do in a million years--tele skiing, snowboarding, the Western States 100--I like to see fire in their eyes. It is fascinating, primal, seductive. I get those people.

If this post sparks something in you, riddle me this: What's the line you walk? How do you keep from falling in?


  1. I am inherently lazy which tempers my desire in my head to do more and more.

  2. Wouldn't mind falling in THAT lake!
    What Danni said! I think obsessions/passions wax and wane in one's life. Maybe it's a time in your life when you need challenges, when you have a safe refuge to come home to...questioning whether it is a passion or an obsession, and why it seems needed is probably a good thing. Sometimes we undertake passions (or obsessions) to prove something to ourselves. Or maybe the 11 mile run and the 25 mile hike just came so close together in time that "someone" took notice, no more than that.

  3. Obsessions tend to overtake other aspects of our lives. Now having said that, I want to clarify that not all obsessions are bad. I bet Mozart was obsessed with music and I am very grateful for that.
    Another observation is that what is normal to many, others will consider obsession. I say, live your life obsessively or not and do what you love as long as it does not hurt others.

    (BTW, why don't we ever say that some people are obsessed with mediocracy?)


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