Let Things Be

Channeling my inner flower child as I look back on the 70’s. Why do we like the things we like?  How do we determine the things that hold meaning for us and those that we forget in an instant?  And why do we attempt to create both in something rather than just allowing it to happen?  I suppose if I knew those things I might be able to unlock the vagaries of the human mind and determine the twists and turns of our psyche.  As it is I’m in the dark with the rest of you, wondering about the choices, values and folly of our existence. As exhibit A, I give you the striped pants.  I don’t know how, when or why my mom bought them for me but I can tell you that I dug the colors, man.  They were cool and I thought I was pretty groovy when I wore them.  I imagined I was a comedian on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson like my idols, Kelly Monteith, George Carlin and David Brenner.  I remember the fabric even had a slick sort of a feel, probably the same as our khakis today.  It felt happenin.’  Jimmy JJ Walker himself couldn’t be that hip.  Looking back maybe my mom chose them because I could wear them with so many other things and not clash.  It would be many years before I’d find out I was red/green colorblind and have my odd clothes choices explained in college finally.  It’s not as easy to explain the shirt. Exhibit B is a shirt that can best be described as light sweater meets latch hook rug.  It was definitely a precursor to the chenille that we would all fall in love with in eighth grade but I didn’t feel like I was ahead of my time.  Truth be told I never dressed to match what the other kids wore and still don’t.  I’ve always liked what I like for my own reasons as confounding as they are to those in my life that have to be seen and associated with me.  My mom wondered aloud why I always dressed so “drab” and my spouse mostly gave up dressing me early in our marriage.  The green(?)(see colorblindness above) and white speckled sweater with the green and black ribbing at the neck was a staple for many a picture for two or three years.  Whether it was my eighth birthday or Christmas when I was nine if I found something I liked I stuck with it.  Even back then I wore what I wanted to wear usually as long as it was clean but even a small stain never stopped me from donning a favorite.  Clothes and times were simpler back then and I didn’t try to engineer things.  You’d think I would have carried that lesson forward to today but you would be mistaken. Exhibit C is a small, inconsequential nine mile ride when I’m 52.  52.  52 and I seem to have forgotten the things that seemed so obvious 43 years prior.  I had somewhere to be and getting the ride done was the precursor to moving on to it.  The day’s ride before had gone well and although the distances had been small up to this point I had developed an expectation of what it would be like.  I would knock this quick ride out and be on to bigger and better things.  Silly old man!  It started with an incomprehensible inability to get clipped into my pedals because my &%$*! left knee wouldn’t bend enough.  Difficulties continued once I was clipped and couldn’t make a revolution without my ass coming off the seat because of the pain.  Then, there was the immediate climb up a hill.  Halfway up I thought I might actually topple over because I wasn’t going fast enough.  So much for my quick and easy ride!  I persevered and although my second hill climb nearly broke me again I did not tip over.  With a little rest at a stoplight I continued on into what became an enjoyable ride of its own accord.  Once again the universe had taught me a lesson. Despite our best planning and expectations and past experiences our lives, the world and our circumstances cannot be designed, at least not completely.  Not to get too hippy-dippy but sometimes we just have to let things be.  The Beatles knew that and to be honest I think we all know it too, deep down.  Unfortunately even at 52 you can forget and not in the “where are my car keys?” way but in the way where you know better; you’ve just gotten caught up in the swirl of the world and what/where/how it says you should be.  I won’t go looking for striped pants or latch-hook sweaters but I’ll take a cool chenille number if one comes into my path!  And I’ll do my best to dial down the noise, like what I like and accept what life brings.  Ultimately, it’s going to bring what it brings. I had a former supervisor tell me I had a sort of 60’s mentality and I think she may have hit it right on the head.  I do think we chase a lot when we ought to sit back and wait for things to come though.  Maybe you know someone on the hamster wheel who needs to hear this.  If you do, I hope you’ll share it. If you would like to check out more of my writing you can head to my blog by clicking this.  I promise it’s not all swathed in tie-dye.  If you like this or what you read at the blog you can subscribe there or by clicking here.  Subscribing is free, man and all that will happen is you’ll get an email on Saturdays with links to the week’s posts.  No spam will drag you down though since I never sell or share emails.

The Start of Something

Uncertainty and the unknown are part of every beginning. I have to admit I don’t remember anything from my first year here on earth.  I guess I began life like most of us do.  I’m told I was a good baby.  I didn’t have colic and slept through the night reasonably well.  Little did any of us know how much that would change. Change was the name of the game back then though, even if I wasn’t aware.  I grew and got bigger.  I suppose happy for me in those days was a full tummy and a dry diaper (have to wonder if I’m not going to revert to that someday).  It was fairly simple stuff.  I was carried (literally) by those that knew better than me what was best.  I don’t know that we ever quit relying on people, or should. No, that first year was all about what was to come.  It’s a little like beginning these rides.  One mile is literally next to nothing when you’re talking about doing it on a road bike.  It’s almost ridiculous but you have to start somewhere and based on my level of fitness and ability (kind of like back then) one mile is probably best.  I know big changes are coming. When I was one I’m sure my folks knew that too.  I’m sure they knew there would be new and different things every day, kind of like how these bike rides progress and while some things stay the same (saddling up, setting the Map My Ride to start) a lot will change.  At first the change is going to be drastic but also a little deceiving. If I told you I was going to ride twice as far tomorrow as I did today you’d probably think that was huge; until I told you I rode one mile today.  It’s all about your frame of reference; sort of like parenting.  Sometimes it’s skewed and we expect too much and doom ourselves to frustration, or we expect too little and limit our growth to much less than it should be.  It seems like the better approach might be to remain open to the possibilities but not shackled by expectations.  Again, kind of like these rides. I’m sure some of them are going to suck and sometimes I just really won’t want to get on the bike.  I don’t always like being a parent either.  Sometimes being an adult seems like such a drag but I do it for the kids just like I get on the bike for my health.  Adding a mile a day at first may seem like a lot, just like becoming a parent, especially for the first time.  But once you get the hang of it, once you’re into the process and on the ride, it can really be the best part of your day; heck the best part of your life.  So push through.  It’s worth it.  The rewards will come.  I promise. Beginnings can be tough, scary, intimidating and exhilarating all at once.  You don’t know what’s around the next corner or how you’ll cope.  Still, the adventure is well worth it.  If you know someone who’s beginning something new I hope you’ll share this. This is the first in this new series of posts.  If you would like to read more of my writing, click here to go to the blog.  Do you like what you read?  If so, please subscribe by clicking this or subscribe in the blog.  It’s free and means you will receive an email with links to the week’s posts on Saturdays.  Have no fear, I don’t sell or share emails so you won’t get a bunch of spam by subscribing.