If you asked 21-year-old you, what 41-year-old you would be like – what would you have said?
I’m sitting here wracking my brain trying to remember what it was like to think like a 21-year-old. What was I doing? What was I dreaming about? The answer on both counts was probably: nothing much. I wasn’t especially motivated by “the future.” Thinking back about how I spent my time it seemed to be about immediate gratification versus carefully plotting or planning anything. More grasshopper, less ant.
Now that 42 is taunting me from 2 weeks in the future, I assess myself as doing more preparatory scheming than I did at 21. More ant, less grasshopper. But there are days when I wish I could re-learn to be impulsive. Oxymoron? Sometimes it feels like I think way too much about things before I make them happen.
Of course there are dangers to being impulsive. Rangers often find themselves rescuing inexperienced hikers from high elevations because they weren’t prepared with proper clothing, food, water or knowledge. That’s when impulsive decisions are stupid. Would I have ever done that – climbed to some high elevation without any consideration of the weather or anything else? Probably not.
It seems that my impulses are still guided by knowledge, however small. Or maybe by some assessment of the situation that calculates probable success; a calculation that happens so fast I’m not even aware of it. Maybe I’ve looked at this whole impulse thing wrong. Maybe what I’m really prattling about is spontaneity?
1. acting or done without forethought.
synonyms: impetuous, spontaneous, hasty, passionate, emotional, uninhibited;
performed or occurring as a result of a sudden inner impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus.
synonyms: unplanned, unpremeditated, unrehearsed, impulsive, impetuous, unstudied, impromptu, spur-of-the-moment, extempore, extemporaneous;
(of a person) having an open, natural, and uninhibited manner.
synonyms: natural, uninhibited, relaxed, unselfconscious, unaffected, open, genuine, easy, free and easy;
Am I splitting hairs here? Does being impulsive seem like it can be more reckless than being spontaneous? Maybe not. Does it matter what it’s called if the desired outcome is the same? And that desired outcome is more heart-following, less hemming and hawing over whether it’s a good idea or not. Besides, no matter what it’s called it is done with the same amount of acquired knowledge.
How often does some inspiration come to you and in that immediate flash you’re excited by it! … only to talk yourself back down off the ledge and to a list of reasons why you should slow down? Maybe divine inspiration, maybe spontaneity is your real voice? Maybe that other voice that muscles in with its reasons why not is an asshole. Or maybe the voice of reason is the one that prolongs your life? Maybe there is a balance between the two? Maybe you learn that balance with age.
Maybe I’ve finally reached old enough to know better.
Better? Maybe. Maybe not.
The West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine has been a place that I’ve wanted to visit for many years now. Maybe 2016 will be the year that I finally make the ride up to see the stripey lighthouse. It sits in the eastern-most corner of the United States. That’s kind of neat – to go as far as you can within our borders.
While looking at some of the lighthouse pictures on Flickr, it seems like Lubec might be a good area for me to finally get to see the milky way, which I’m slightly obsessed with. Have you seen it?
I wish I had some insight in to what it is that I find so appealing about lighthouses. Perhaps it has something to do with their strength, silence, ability to weather fierce storms, and shining a light in the dark for people to find their way. The buildings and the people who manned them were made from strong stuff.
Maybe, just maybe later this year you’ll see a picture of me waving from in front of that red and white striped tower. Dream it, do it. Right?
Really? Are you sure? Because I bet if you look a little deeper within yourself often you’ll find that you won’t. And that is different. And I’m not here to say that anyone’s reasons for “won’t-ing” aren’t valid. I’m sure they are. But don’t let yourself off the hook with an easy out by defaulting to can’t. That sounds like there are some mystical forces at work preventing us from doing something.
Can’t seems final. Won’t leaves room for change, room for possibility.
Hell, I’m guilty of “I can’t,” myself. And it makes me crazy!
“I can’t just pack up and ride away to Alaska!”
Well, technically… I could. But what would have to happen is that I would have to take an inventory of the consequences of my actions and my choices. When all is said and done and I tally up the detriment score, maybe I’ll come to the conclusion that the cost, and this isn’t necessarily about money, is too high. In which case, I won’t ride to Alaska.
One of the important things that I try to remember is that even though something doesn’t seem feasible right now, that doesn’t mean things will always be that way. It’s a long race. I need to pace myself and just keep going forward.
I have an episodic issue with my back. Transitioning from laying down to sitting or sitting to standing is terrible. At its worst, it feels like lightning coursing through my body. There are moments when I’m laying on the floor saying, “I can’t get up. I just can’t.” But… I do. I get up because I want to, because I have to. I can’t just lay there, not moving forever. And so what happens is that I will make a move that I know is going to hurt like hell for a few seconds until I can get in to a position that I can tolerate and the pain subsides. And I then repeat the process several times until I am on my feet again.
You can. Get back on your feet.
Where would you find yourself? Where would you go? What wonderful things would you do if you never said those two words – I can’t? What would you achieve if you allowed yourself to explore your potential, your resourcefulness, your resilience? Do you have any idea how amazing you can be?
Today I walked past my slumbering motorcycle as I dragged the recycling can to the garage door. I believe I may have seen a sneer of contempt from the 690 as it sleepily sipped go-go juice from the battery tender.
“Good-morrow, woman. Though you averted your eyes, I feel that you have seen me here in the corner.”
“I did, I DO see you. But… but the roads… so salty still…”
“Today? Today it will rain. It will pour down a GLORIOUS DELUGE and the streets will run clear; salty tears will drain away. And you! You, chubby one, will ride again soon. It has been spoken and it is so. Oh, don’t forget to put out the cardboard recycling, too.”
The KTM may be a tad melodramatic.
It hasn’t been especially cold lately but after the blizzard 2 weekends ago, the roads are still messy with nasty, corrosive salt. That stuff gets everywhere and I couldn’t easily get to the hose in the backyard to wash down the bike so… I’ve been waiting. After today’s pouring rain the streets should be nice and clean. Tomorrow is tomorrow’s today, so on that today… I may get out for a ride!