The Choices We Didn’t Make

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This morning as I stood upon the steps trying to decide on whether or not to ride my motorcycle to work on this cold, cloudy and windy day, the only thing I could think about was my weatherman Collin missing the mark the two previous days. Not that he was that far off, but it surely wasn’t in my favor. So today I decided to not ride because of it. I thought to myself “I’ll teach him.”

So my drive in was one of deep thought. Just like on my motorcycle, I spend a good portion just thinking about stuff that I don’t get a chance to think about otherwise. This decision on whether or not to ride is something that comes up a lot during the fall and winter months so it really isn’t that surprising. But this morning it occurred to me that I spent so much time trying to decide on something so trivial. Is riding that important to me? It is, but why make such a big deal about whether I’m going to or not? There are way more important life decisions and choices to make that all of a sudden this seemed insignificant. So what’s the problem?

Looking back over a lifetime there are many choices and decisions we make that can literally change the course of who we are and what we do. Fundamentally we are going to be the person we truly are, but I think you know what I mean. Some of the great mysteries of life are a direct result of decisions and choices we didn’t make.

“Some of the great mysteries in life are a direct result of decisions and choices we didn’t make.”

I’ve been riding motorcycles enough to know that the decision to ride or not affects my whole day. It is who I am and what I do so when I don’t ride I’m usually kicking myself for whatever reason. That little voice in my head says many things through the course of a day and when he’s right I can’t argue. You do hear those voices too, don’t you?

I’m not trying to trivialize the choices we make here. But we are faced with big and small decisions every day and depending on the outcome of those decisions it can alter how our day goes. Put it on a larger scale and we’ve all made life decisions that resulted in where we are standing today. Call it fate, chance or destiny – even luck, but life is full of choices. I know I’ve made several calls to not ride when I should have and vice-versa, but in the end it didn’t do any more than irritate me.

I often think about the road that led me to where I am today. I think about those crossroads where a choice was made and things changed, and how it would be different if that life intersection had been just a mile or two further down the road. I think about those future crossroads that I’ve yet to meet and how nobody knows how it will really turn out. That’s the beauty of it – and that’s where those great mysteries of life come from.

I Believe

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It’s all been said before. We’ve thought it and we’ve uttered these words when we’ve had our doubts. Sometime we just whisper them to ourselves. I Believe. I believe in life after death. I believe in love. True love. I believe in the good in people and the size of their hearts, even when they don’t show it. I believe our actions speak louder than our words. I believe in destiny. I believe we have the ability to overcome whatever it is we’re faced with, even when the odds are stacked against us. I believe in a healing touch. I believe in prayer. I believe in God.

I believe in what’s right. I admit sometimes I don’t believe, and then I find the strength to believe. I believe we don’t know our own strength – mental and physical. I also believe in the power of emotion and experience. I believe that time heals all wounds. I know the scars may remain, but time gives us the ability to understand. I believe that things come full circle. I believe my dog Scout knows me too well. I believe all pets love beyond the wag of a tail. I believe we could be more like them.

 I believe a mile in someone else’s shoes would make us appreciate our own shoes. I believe we should go without shoes more often.

I believe words can hurt and trust can be broken, but I also believe in forgiveness. I believe forgiveness and acceptance can make us grow into better people. I believe in hard work and long days and sweat. I believe we can. I believe we did. I believe we will. I believe in giving more than what you take. I believe in respect. I believe in honor. I believe in holding the door and ladies first. I believe it’s possible, even when nobody thinks so.

I believe in myself. But I also know I can be better. I believe in positive thinking. I believe in second chances. I believe tomorrow is a new day and today will end soon enough. I believe our past doesn’t define who we are and our future is an open book. I believe we were all young once and don’t ever forget it. I believe you’re only as old as you think you are. I believe in the kid inside all of us. I believe nice guys finish first – always. And children. I believe in those who are looking at the world and all it has to offer for the very first time.

I believe a smile can say so much. I believe people are good at hiding pain. I believe we need to be patient and have understanding. I believe a mile in someone else’s shoes would make us appreciate our own shoes. I believe we should go without shoes more often. I believe we worry too much. I believe that each day is a gift and we should treat it as such.

I believe in us; We the People and what we are capable of. Together. I Believe.

It Can Happen

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Never give up. Easy to say, but oh, so hard to do. The path of least resistance can become quite the habit for many, but for a few they will settle for nothing but the best. But what about an average guy like me? I can dream, can’t I? Sometimes it takes goals (lofty goals at that) for them to be reached. Why is that? Goals are the easy part, it’s the doing that takes the effort. And of course, never giving up.

It’s easy to say “maybe someday,” but to actually find yourself achieving a goal you put forth – goes to show you if you want it bad enough, you can make it happen. How bad did I want this? Not as bad as you think. It seemed so far-fetched that it was more of a dream than an actual goal. This isn’t something I’ve been thinking about since I was a child, but only recently did I have the urge to put my thoughts into words. I think from a deeper sense, it was all the years of reading motorcycle publications over and over that put me in this spot. If it’s true “you are what you eat,” then surely you are what you read. And as luck would have it, I’m always hungry.

I could go all philosophical here and say it’s destiny – or that all things happen for a reason; and although I do believe in destiny and the whole ” happen for a reason” thing, I also believe you can make your own opportunities as you plug away through life. Slow and steady might get your there, but it has a lot to do with timing. Just the idea this could happen to a small town guy twenty-five years ago seems improbable without the help of the internet. As for my location, it isn’t in the heart of the motorcycle industry. The world is a much smaller place to me as an adult, but seemingly too big for a teenager with other things on his mind, to make the most of it. I’m not sure Mrs. Lawrenz in freshman typing class or Mr. Sweeney in English were convinced I was capable of putting my thoughts into words in 1977, but they should see me now – spelling my words all good (more better?) and using most of my fingers. They believed in me I’m sure, but I knew me as a freshman and, well… But that is exactly the point I’m trying to make here. You aren’t limited by the invisible boundaries we place around ourselves; we’re only limited to the boundaries of our dreams. The last time I checked, my dreams can be way out there.

I still have bigger goals I want to achieve, but even those seem like dreams at this point. Will I achieve them? To say “no” would undermine my own success, so I will plug away as I always do to make them a reality. It’s still a matter of timing and making your own opportunities, and it always helps if you have a dream to chase – and the support of friends, family and of course teachers!