On Living the Life

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It hit me a little more than three years ago, when I was 35, that I’d finally started living the active, outdoor lifestyle I’d envisioned for myself back in the summer between 8th and 9th grade. I’d just come back from my first week-long backpacking trip, an epic circuit of in the Collegiate Range of the Colorado Rockies. I’d also started riding a lightweight road bike and fell in love with my sudden ability to be able to ride 50 miles or more under my own power. In the years between that summer and turning 33, I’d taken up bike racing, bike touring, mountain biking, and in college I picked up rowing. I’d also smoked for a while, drank a lot, and went years without doing anything active except ride a motorcycle (I don’t count my Vespa-riding years in high school.).

But then at age 33, I moved to Santa Fe from New York City and started mountain biking, got a dog and began hiking, learned how to snowboard and started snowshoeing up ski hills to ride back down, got back into road riding, and started running marathons. Rationally, I knew I was living the active, outdoor dream, but here’s the weird thing, it didn’t feel like it. And I think I know why: I suck at it.

It took me four years to accept that no matter where I was, there was someone else who was going to be faster, stronger, more skilled, and more ballsy. I had to get over it. And when I did that, I finally started to truly enjoy the life I was—and still am, sort of—living.

I put this out here in this, my inaugural fitness blog for Backpacker.com, because this is who I am. I’m no nationally ranked champ, no veteran of the AT, or even an experienced mountaineer. I’m just a married guy with two young kids trying to live the life and stay active, achieve something special every once and awhile, and not lose my mind. I have the body of a Ford F-150 that’s powered by an overworked V-6, not the earth-moving V-8. And I think I relate to a lot of people out there trying to do the same.

So that’s me, and that’s where this blog is coming from. If I have any goal with this blog, it’s to empower everyone to feel good about where they are and what they’re doing right now. If you read something in the coming posts that resonates with you, let me know. If you think I’m full of it, let me know too. I could use a swift kick in the ass now and then. (Unlike most marriages, my wife’s critical remarks are usually limited to my choice in clothes and whatever wacky diet I’m trying out.) If you’ve got any advice, I’d love to hear about it. I have no idea what this blog is going to turn into, but let’s see what happens. —Grant Davis

Grant Davis has spent the last decade writing and editing articles about health, fitness, and nutrition. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.