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As we move from our carefree twenties into our thirties the looming call to conform to the “norm” becomes more and more insistent. There are responsibilities that crop up as we continue along life’s path that inevitably take time that we would otherwise spend following our passions in the mountains. I have felt this pressure more and more every year. This year I turned thirty-one, got married and bought a house. At our wedding, some relatives asked whether I’m going to give up kayaking off waterfalls and start concentrating on a career and a family. I smiled politely, nodded, and changed the subject. But it did raise the question in my head once again.

I have a career in the city and with a little extra planning, I am kayaking more than ever with friends. At the same time, I feel the tug of age beginning to grab hold over my body; whether it’s a sprain that takes longer to heal, or needing to stop for a nap on a nine-hour drive where once I could push on through. I try to include my family in as much of my outdoor sports life as possible, by taking my mom and dad rafting down the Kicking Horse River in B.C., and following my wife around as she schools me in the art of mountain biking. I work extra shifts while trying to make time for the other stuff life demands as we make new friends and find ourselves committing to things we may have thought we mundane or unimportant before – like potluck dinners in the city or painting our house to make it more of a home.

It’s an absolute blast, and non-stop juggling act.

How will I keep going as I try to hold down a career, raise kids, and kayak as much as possible in any given season? I don’t have the answer as I’m just at the beginning. I look at Nick and Emily and their parents and, right there, there’s a lot to learn from. The work-life balance that so many authors have made a fortune trying to sell as an easily attainable formula isn’t simple, but is something I feel is worth striving for. What is an acceptable amount of time to give to work, how much time with loved ones is too little, what should we invest towards our own personal time? Again I don’t have the answer but I feel that in order to be at your best for your family and career you need to keep your passions alive.

I’m in no way close to mastering that balance but I am enjoying how much life throws us as we head into our mid-life crisis era. I can’t wait to hear from all the JK readers about how you are getting this dialed…

Yours Dave Crerar, regional athlete Alberta/BC