As anyone who knows me in real live life will tell you, when it comes to choices of entertainment, I got stuck in the 80s. Music, TV, and movies from that era hold a special place in my heart and my itunes.
I also use some of the classic lines from the best movies. Someone says “May I ask you a question?” I respond with “Talk to me Goose!” When something works the way I want it to I launch into “I love it when I plan comes together!” Anytime you can use either “If you will not help me, then TA HELL WITH YOU!” or “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the wimmen!” is a good day! When I am making something work that normally wouldn’t I hear in my head “The world is what you make of it, friend. If it doesn’t fit, you make alterations.” And when overly stressed, you can always feel better with a boisterous “Yippee Ki Ay…….”
So, its been just over 3 weeks since the STP, when our intrepid hero braved 97 degree heat to cycle 204 miles. I am happy to report that I have fully recovered from this ride, and the body parts that were hurting are now doing well again.
Sometimes the shortest conversations end up being the bloggfodder that inspires a post.
I was down this morning putting away some of my sweaty gear from the ride into work when another rider came in to park his bike. I don’t know his name but I have seen him around. He mentioned that there were more bikes parked here lately. I commented that it’s probably the combination of the nicer weather and the bike commuter challenge going on for April and May.
He just gave me a weird look, and said, “Yeah, I did that challenge last year. I logged all my miles, and expected to get something at the end. Nothing happened; I didn’t get anything, so I won’t do it this year.” Continue reading “What motivates different people”→
So I had a great plan today. My lovely wife Michelle is down in Santa Barbara with her college roommate Kim (girls weekend!) The Manchild is up, but he is doing his monthly Nintendo Smash Fest which lasts all day. (In fact, since snow has forced him to quit earlier the last two sessions, I told him to call me when it was all over, closer to midnight….) This all combines to mean I have the day to myself.
My plan was to pick up the kid from his mom’s, take him to his gathering of like-minded video game game playing people, and then saddle up the bike. I was very much hoping to get a 40 mile ride in this weekend….
I have had an evening with a fast cycle commute home, followed by a run to the store, and then sneaking in a quick mowing of the grass before a large “rain event” starts tomorrow. So in short, its been busy since work ended. But it wasn’t mentally busy. Meaning while doing all of the above, the mind was free to ponder.
A word of warning here, some of my posts after a “pondering” evening have been known to ramble. But I will try to keep it on track….
Anyone who knows me from work knows I HATE going to meetings with a passion. I have been known to use every trick I have to avoid them. This was especially true at the Holy P, my most recent employer. Near the end of my stint there, every meeting resulted in a knock down drag out fight. Sometimes yelling, sometimes tears (not me boys don’t cry), yeah they sucked.
So when I started here at the Mighty P, I still wasn’t gung ho on meetings, but I also wanted to do everything possible to make a good impression. So I resolved NOT to try to avoid meetings.
Well, two weeks into my new job, I was invited to an optional all day meeting. OK, old Tony woulda declined in a heartbeat, new Tony, accepted (though with trepidation).
Well, suffice it to say, I was surprised to find that within the first few minutes I heard something that intrigued me.
Our CEO was talking about the company, and the changes that have occurred in the last couple years, and he said “Isn’t it better to thrive than to just survive.”
Well hell, I started pondering that and missed the whole rest of his introduction to the meeting.
Now I am GREAT in survival mode. At work if suddenly you are pounded with things that need to be done now, I can kick in and get it done! I can crank out the deliverables if need be. Also working for an insurance company, there is no busier time than when a storm hits. I LOVE a good storm and the Battle mode response. Yep I love it, for about 2 weeks. THEN it gets old! My dad used to say “You can get used to hanging if you hang long enough.” But is it fun? No!
In my mountain days I had to break out true survival mode.
Once a group of us were climbing to Camp Muir (10000 ft on Mt Rainier). One member of our group, who will remain nameless, left us and sped ahead, jackass. The weather suddenly started going downhill, as it will on that mountain. The rest of us gathered evaluate our options. We all knew that the best bet was to turn around, and we WOULD have if it weren’t for the jackass! We seriously considered leaving him, but decided it wasn’t the right thing to do. He was the least experienced of us all.
We kicked it in and finally caught him, informed him he was a jackass, and that he would be heading back down with us. By then the wind was high, and clouds had turned visibility to zero. Since the route was wanded, I had the team wait at a wand and I headed down till I found the next one and lead them to it with my voice. NOT fun. So I can DO survival mode if I have to.
Given the choice though, I MUCH prefer Thrive.
I am with someone I love. We make each other happy, and like to spend time with each other. We will sit in our read chairs in our sitting area, each reading or web surfing, and just look and smile at each other. She is smarter than I am, and flat fun to talk to, and I LOVE to check her out when she aint looking. Yep Thriving.
I am in better shape now than almost any other time in my life. I am enjoying the hell out of my rides and work outs. I am feeling strong, healthy and bulletproof. After this last century ride I did better than I ever had before. I can feel the benefits of the extra miles I have ridden. I feel strong and alive. It seems kind of silly to call it out, but I am thriving.
Even at work, things are good. I have been working harder in the two months since I’ve been there than the last year where I was. I am liking my job, the project I am on and even the people I am working with.
I realize that overall I am a very lucky man. I have a job, I have love and I have my health. I think the CEO’s comment just enabled me to start thinking about all that I have, and to appreciate it.
Everyone should have a survival mode in them, you never know when something might happen. But, if you are in that mode, do everything you can to move out of that mode. I can tell you, even though short term getting into survival mode can be fun, I am loving the fact that I am thriving!
I firmly believe that if you have one good friend out there, you are very lucky. I am very lucky, I have had 3 friends continuously since college. Scott, the Mudsucker, I’ve known for over 30 Years, Dave and Jim very close to it! There are others like Stacy, Jenna and Kristina that I love dearly, but I lost them and found them again just recently. The three guys, though, have been there the whole time!
I bring this up for a reason. Just because you have been together through the ups and down of 3 decades, doesn’t mean you truly understand why a person does the things he does.
My case in point is Dave. He is forever busting my chops for using my legs to transport me places that a good, street-legal dirt bike could get me in a fraction of the time! Now I know part of this in is simply flipping me crap (as I do him for MANY things) but I am also pretty damn sure part of it is truly he has no idea why I do the things I do.
I’ve hiked for hours with 40 lb packs on my back for “training climbs”. I used to run daily, regardless of the weather, to get ready for the Sound-to-Narrows, or the Seattle Half Marathon. Last year, he followed my training for the one day, 206 mile Seattle to Portland. He saw me post that I had to get to the finish line by 9 PM. Being curious he asked “What happens if you miss the 9 o’clock deadline?” “I don’t get the one day patch”, said I. “That’s it???” I could see him shaking his head…
Now before I go on and people thing I am dissing Dave, the man is amazing. Have torch will travel, he can weld or McGyver ANYTHING (someday I will tell the story of his marriage proposal.) He can also beachcomb the shore of a lake and BUILD a water ski from the flotsam on the beach, and ride it! He is also one helluva dirt biker, and my skydiving partner. He just doesn’t believe in human-powered transportation when there is perfectly good internal combustion available!
So anyway, the reason for this post… Why do I do the stuff I do…
Well first off, I won’t lie, I love being able to go to work and say “Yawn, oh I rode 100 miles, or biked the Oregon coast, or climbed Mt St Helens” when people ask “What did you do on your day off?” Its fun to see the double take!
But the reasons go SO much deeper. I am truly afraid of being old and feeble. It scares the crap out of me. I never want to be too old to do the stuff I like to do. I don’t want to have to worry about not being fast enough to cross the street before the lights turn. I won’t even discuss how much something like dementia scares me. So my theory is the more I keep doing stuff, the better shape I keep myself in, the better chance I have to stave of feebleness… (if it aint true don’t tell me!)
I am also petrified of getting fat and flabby. I once saw a guy at Disneyland who walked from Peter Pan to Snow White. About 200 feet. He had to sit down and rest. That was 17 years ago, and its one of my most vivid memories of Mickey’s place. I see the kind of shape some of the people are even in Seattle. Given how much I love pasta, cookies, brownies and cheese, I have no choice but to work out. Otherwise, I’d have to buy two seats when I flew on a plane, and I’d never get to ride Splash Mountain again.
So bragging rights, and abject fear are two things than make me take the rides I do, but is that enough?
No, the most important part is dammit, its fun. I enjoyed the hell out of the ride this weekend, I had never taken my bike to the Carbon River. It was gorgeous! If I wasn’t a hiker I never would have seen things like this:
We won’t discuss the point I was standing in front of a sign that said “Danger Don’t Stand Here!” when I took this.
I do what I do, because it is truly rewarding to me, physically, mentally, and as much as I like to say I am cold and callous, even spiritually! I have seen and experienced things that very few of the people I know have ever done. I am damn lucky to have a wife who loves me, supports me and understands how important these things are to me. I love you babe!
So, I know people are going to continue asking why, but now at least y’all now know Why I Do What I Do!