“Age gives you a great sense of proportion. You can be very hard on yourself when you’re younger but now I just think everybody’s absolutely mad and I’m doing quite well.”–MORRISSEY
It took me a lifetime to build myself, piece by piece, into something I thought I was. It took a split second to smash my masterpiece, and two very long, gut wrenching years to completely tear me to the ground. I have spent the last three years building myself up from the foundation, and I stand here before you better than ever. And I find myself wondering where I would be without this tragedy.
Life is all about chances and choices. We hope to make the best choices, usually don’t, and have to live with whatever path we decided to walk. Second chances are rare, love doesn’t always prevail, and people aren’t always true. Relationships end, friendships are built on lies, and important people die. What we choose to do in those moments is what matters. Our lives are forever changed with the blink of an eye. We learn about who we really are at the core, and often don’t look back.
The amazing thing about life is this…we can’t control it. We get dealt a handful of cards, but we can’t see what everyone else has. We get to choose how aggressive we are, when to make a move, and when to quit. Just because we make a decision, doesn’t mean it will play in our favor. We must adapt. We must be ready for upheaval. WE MUST BE READY TO FIGHT. Sadly, we also must be ready to throw in the towel.
When I look at who I was before my mother got sick, I honestly wonder how I made it this far. I was burdened with self-doubt and fear of the unknown. I was afraid…period. Afraid to live. Afraid to love. Afraid to care too much. Afraid to give zero fucks. I was afraid of what people thought about me, and afraid to brush those people off. The biggest obstacle I faced was simply letting go. The day of my mother’s funeral, I had my first lesson in letting go. I still struggle with this, daily, but I know that is one thing I actually have control of in this life.
I can’t control everything, though. None of us can. I can’t control what moves me. I can’t control who I fall in love with. I can’t control the hate other people have for me. I can control what emotions I let people see. I can control who gets to know the real me. I can control how much I let negative people affect my life. Those are choices I have control over. What I choose for myself may be totally different from where you want to be, and that’s OK. What’s the point of being here if we don’t live life according to our own hearts?
I chose to stay off the bike tonight. I didn’t get home from work till late, my body is ravished from landscaping, last night’s ride, and two days of crit racing with no recovery day afterwards. Aside from being physically exhausted, my mind isn’t in a place it needs to be for quality bike work. My heart is heavy, mind is full, and legs are tired. I will make it up over the next few days, but for now, I need this time. I need this time to clear my head. I need this time to remember my mother. I need this time to make sure I’m on the path to somewhere. I need this time to figure people out. I need all of this.
The people I need are here. The people who litter my life with their negativity are gone. The choices I make are mine, and mine alone. This is a lot like bike racing. Words can take a person so far, but in the end? Yeah…in the end you just have to pedal your guts out until you learn. And then you can make your own way…