So, I'm learning things. We really shouldn't ever stop that. When we stop learning, the mind starts to stagnate and begins its long, slow death that we refer to as “old age”. My father has always said that his age isn't how old he is – it's just how long he's been here. The man turned 78 last November and sometimes he acts younger than me. It's Attitude.
Anyway, back to learning. I'm learning about myself; I don't know – maybe it's a function of middle age setting in, but I seem to be getting more introspective in the last year or two. Sometimes, I think my attitudes and thoughts and priorities are those of a twenty five year old. Other times, I feel like I'm too settled down. Maybe that's the same thing. Maybe I'm crazy; who knows? I'm working on trying to reconcile the guy who wants to ride, party and have fun all the time with the family man who has responsibilities he wants to live up to.
Here's part of that reconciliation.
I don't get to ride as much as I'd like. Matter of fact, with a new baby, almost all my riding for a while is going to be commuting. I used to worry that riding to work too often would make me take riding for granted and then I wouldn't enjoy it on my time off. For a while, sadly, that was true. Then, I put some thought into it. Attitude. I started turning my commute into a capital “R” Ride. Instead of just numbly commuting along in a brain-dead state like most cagers, I started really paying attention to my ride to work. Sometimes, that means being a little aggressive cutting through traffic, to make up for not being able to go hit the twisties on Saturday. Sometimes, it means slowing down, and looking around, not just staring at the road and the traffic ahead. I recently discovered that I have a pretty damn scenic route to work. I love Austin for that – on my way to work, I can look to my left at the edge of the Hill Country, or in the other direction, the skyline of the city with a lot of trees and greenbelt in the foreground. And everything's so green. No, I don't mean PC, eco-friendly green. I mean the color. I lived in San Antonio for thirteen years, and don't get me wrong – I liked SA a lot. I had a lot of fun living there. But it's a very brown, industrial looking city. Austin just has a more vibrant feel.
Then in the evenings, since I have more time after work than before, sometimes I take the long way home. It's twice as many miles, but after the first mile or two, it's a lot less traffic, and ten times more scenic. This route takes me into the hills west of Austin. There are a lot of really nice looking houses with what I guess is called Mediterranean architecture. I don't know, but they're pretty houses and buildings, whatever they're called. Someday soon, I'm gonna make a big circuit of my “to work” and “to home” routes on a day off when I have time to stop and take photos. The framing effect of the photo will probably prevent the view from translating into a picture, but I want to try.
Another thing is that I've always been the type to keep wishing for the weekend to get here. Or wanting the vacation to hurry up and get here. I used to just sort of race through the week in a mental haze – kind of like that commuter fog I mentioned earlier. An ex girlfriend once referred to that as “wishing your life away”. I thought I understood her then, but now I'm really starting to Get It. I'm feeling it, and applying it. Attitude again. I no longer mentally urge the weekend to arrive. I just try to experience and really live every day. I've even been surprised by Saturday's arrival a couple of times recently. I'm more relaxed this way, and by just focusing on the current experience, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything just because I can't make it to a club event or ride. Because when it comes down to it, those are basically just experiences, too. It's not that I'm missing something. I'm choosing something else.
I'm also learning that I don't have to go out to bars to have fun with friends. We bought a grill and I'm learning how to not burn meat on it. Eventually “not burning” will evolve into “cooking”. We've had a cookout, and have more planned. With the little one who recently arrived into our world, I'm not going out to bars or bike events as much. That's okay. My brothers and sisters can come here. Brats and beer at home can be even better than beer and stale pretzels at some smoky bar. See? Attitude. I'm not giving up anything. I cherish the memories of the lifestyle I lived for so long. I'll probably even return to it some day. I'm just moving on to the next thing. My son seems to have suddenly become nearly grown. They really do grow fast, especially when they don't live with you. So, before I lose the chance, I'm having fun with my boy as he approaches his teen years. And I'm going to relish watching my little girl grow up, too.