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Be Irresponsible

“This is where I want to be,” I said, pointing at the picture on this page.

“So why don’t you go?” said David.

Excuses and rationalizations flashed through my mind. I had 20—no, 40—good reasons why I was sitting on my lumpy butt under fluorescent office lights instead of breathing the crisp winter air of the Swiss Alps, cold white smoke coiling behind me as I waited patiently for my skis to meet the snow.

I had 40 good reasons, but what came out of my mouth was this:

“Uhh…uhh…why don’t you?”

Great comeback. That’s me, sharp as the edge of town.

Fact is, no matter how good you have it, sometimes you stop, stare at the wall of responsibilities (school, dumb-ass job, mortgage), and go, “Whoa. What am I doing here? Is this what I really want?” And then you wonder why you never spent a year ski-bumming or never skied in the Alps, or never ponied up for heli-time, or never even went into the backcountry once.

These are good things to wonder. Maybe you’ll decide you took a wrong turn, hit the brakes, and make a life change. More likely, you’ll realize things are generally pretty sweet but that you’re just tired of the same old routine.

Such is the case with me today. It’s the last deadline of the last issue of the year, and I don’t feel like being responsible any more. I don’t feel like writing my intro, either. What I feel like is getting on a plane, going to Europe, and trying to find the magical little spot in the picture on this page.

OK, so I don’t have the money to go to Europe tonight, nor can I afford the familial and career consequences should I go. But a little personal irresponsibility in the name of mental health, that I can afford. So, I’m outta here. I’m not going to write this damn thing.

In order to justify this whole-hearted embrace of irresponsibility and avoidance of Intro-writing, I need to leave you with a message, and the message is this: Don’t let yourself get so bogged down by life that you’re afraid to take risks, afraid to kiss off things in the name of fun, afraid to develop that old eye problem (“Sorry, boss, I just can’t see coming in today”). Picture yourself old and frail and mulling over your life. Are you going to say, “You know, I’m really glad I went to work that day 50 years ago.” Not likely.

So, blow something off today, and go skiing. Go now.

First published in Powder Magazine, issue 24.7, March 1996. Copyright Steve Casimiro 2001. All rights reserved.

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